Muslim parents to blame for children turning to extremism
Dr Farhan Nizami CBE, a key adviser on Islam to the Prince of Wales, accused British Muslims of failing to make sure their children learn to speak English or supporting them in their education.
He said this leaves them alienated from mainstream society and exposed to being groomed by radical Islamic groups.
It is the first time Dr Nizami, the director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, which has links with Oxford University, has spoken out about the failure of Muslims to integrate with British society.
The academic institution, whose patron is the Prince of Wales, carries considerable influence and aims to build bridges between Islam and the West.
His comments come just weeks after the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that radical Islam is filling the "moral vacuum" created by the decline of Christian values in Britain.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Dr Nizami said Muslims would never play a full role in British society until they improved their education, language and aspirations.
He warned that those who feel marginalised are most easily influenced by the rhetoric of extremism, and called on Muslim parents to do more to avert the danger of their children becoming fanatics.
"Muslim families have to realise the importance of education for their children and make an effort to push them into achieving more," Dr Nizami said.
"They need to make them aspire to things higher rather than just being self-employed and looking for small-jobs."
Despite the fears over the threat posed by foreign imams such as Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri, Dr Nizami claimed homegrown Muslims can be even more dangerous.
The four suicide bombers who murdered 52 people in London on July 7, 2005, were all born in Britain while the four Islamic terrorists jailed for plotting to blow up Bluewater and the Ministry of Sound with half a ton of fertiliser were all raised and schooled here.
Dr Nizami said: "The assumption that foreign imams equal something undesirable is not always true. In fact some of the more radical elements of British society are British-born. This is not an issue that needs to be seen in terms of religion, but in issues of alienation and deprivation."
He said education was key to preventing a new generation of Muslim extremists growing up in Britain.
"Immigrant communities have to do more to get integrated, particularly on issues of language and education," he said.
Dr Nizami, who is a British delegate at a conference on bridging the gap between Islam and the West, expressed concern at the poor academic achievements of Muslims in Britain, particularly those from Pakistan and Bangladesh.
"This is partly because of issues about their access to good state schools, but this is also because they receive poor family support," he said.
But on Tuesday some Muslim groups said it was unfair to point the finger of blame at parents, and that the Government should commit more funding to language lessons for immigrants while mosque leaders must ensure sermons are delivered in English.
Inayat Bunglawala, spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain, said: "There is really no question regarding the central importance of parents taking an active interest in the better education of their children. But we need to be cautious of putting too much blame on parents for the actions of their children.
"As we have seen in the cases of the 7/7 bombers and terrorists who have been convicted since then, many of them were extremely adept at deceiving their closest family relatives about their intentions."
A spokesman for the Ramadhan Foundation, British's leading Muslim youth organisation, said: "There are systematic mistakes, with the Government cutting funding for people who want to learn English. The imams have also got to look at sermons being delivered in English."
The conference at which Dr Nizami spoke, held in Kuala Lumpur this week, heard that the divide between the Muslim world and the West continues to undermine constructive political, economic, social and religious engagement.
One of the world's leading Muslims told delegates that the former British prime minister, Tony Blair, is viewed with suspicion by the Arab world in his new role as a Middle East envoy.
Imam Feisal, leader of New York's Masjid al-Farah mosque said: "The perception exists that his being at the forefront of taking Britain into war has reduced his credibility in being able to be seen as an honest broker."
Meanwhile the Vatican warned on Tuesday that the West is in danger of becoming "obsessed" with Muslims.
Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Roman Catholic Church's leading expert on inter-faith dialogue, said discussions between different religious groups must not be "held hostage" by Islam.
His comments came just a day after a report commissioned by the Church of England found that the Government was "focusing intently" on Islam at the expense of Christianity, to which it only paid "lip service".
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John R. Maass - 6/27/2008
Find out what grammar is!
Randll Reese Besch - 6/20/2008
Well put. We are in the throes of a revolution where in God we trust won't be just the (new) nat'l motto it will be the core of a vicious belligerent power of rightous Christian soldiers.
Stephen Kislock - 6/12/2008
Could this be applied to American children, when the parents believe the bible and teach it as Law?
Creationism v. Evloution? The bible over the Constitution? The US of A is a christian country?
A belief system, is Taught in the Home, You go to Church/Temple/Mosque with the parents and this is homeland religion, you protect it from Nonbelievers, at all cost.
I do not believe in god/christ and had the local government stop using "jesus christ" during the invocation. Believe me, you find out what Hate is!
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