Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Extremism in East London

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Extremism in East London

Article excerpt

THE extremist views of a man expected to take over a sect linked to therunning of nearly half of Britain's mosques, and the majority of Islamicseminaries here, give renewed cause for concern.

Riyadh ul Haq, in line to become leader of the Deobandi sect, has been quotedpreaching contempt for those Muslims who say they are proud to be British.Given that the Deobandis have links with Tablighi Jamaat, the group applying tobuild Europe's largest mosque in east London, the exact nature of these viewsneeds to be understood and confronted.

Mr ul Haq's sermons are explicitly opposed to integration and cohesion at atime when better integration is being advocated as the cure for Muslimextremism. Indeed, he appears to have called for Muslims to "shed blood"although not in this country. If these are his views, they cannot be reconciledwith British values of tolerance and respect for the law.

The planning authority concerned for the proposed east London mosque is theLondon Docklands Development Corporation. As a matter of urgency, this body hasa duty to analyse the risk that such views may be promulgated in the building,and their potential effect on the mixed community of east London. But there arewider questions to be asked. The Government said earlier this year that itwould strengthen the statutory monitoring role for the Charities Commissionover the work of mosques, and spend millions to encourage teaching the"positive values" of Islam.

Yet Mr ul Haq's position of influence suggests its initiatives in this areahave not gone far enough. Ministers made much of their efforts to deportforeign preachers of hate but today's disclosures suggest that UK-trainedMuslim clerics may come under increased influence from extremists. At a time ofincreased opposition from moderate Muslims to the mosque, the decision onwhether the mosque can be built must be referred to Secretary of State forCommunities and Local Government, Hazel Blears.

Gun threat TODAYS figures showing that gun-enabled crime is up by 22 per centin just three months is yet another indication of the scale of violent crime inthe capital. …

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