Centre runs classes to help students prevent radicalisation
The imam at Rutherglen’s Minhaj- ul- Quran centre says terrorists should be treated with an “iron hand.”
And in a ground- breaking move, Imam Muhammad Babar revealed the centre is holding anti-terrorist classes for young Muslim men.
Devotees of Muslim scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir- ul- Qadri regularly gather to learn practical ways of countering extremist views in their schools, universities and communities.
The young men, aged between 14 and 23, have been learning how to engage with people expressing extremist ideas and are being directed to passages in the Qur’an and other Islamic texts to allow them to argue against any extremist ideas.
Imam Babar, said: “We have around 30 students working towards a diploma.
“It is an education programme aimed at preventing radicalisation; and we hope to help steer them clear of trouble,” he said.
“At the end of the scheme their minds will be clearer about Islam and its true meaning.”
The course curriculum states that there are people who commit acts of terrorism in the name of every faith, whether it is Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam or any other religion.
“Their actions are not based on the tenets of their respective faiths but tend to use those religions as a shield for their own political agenda,” he said.
Imam Babar also spoke about the UK Government’s decision to launch bomber strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) targets in Syria.
“We should deal with terrorists with an iron hand and show no concessions,” he said.
“But my concern is for the innocent people on the ground in Syria who will suffer.
“The main aim should be to cut off the funding supply to terrorists. We need to try and get them round the table to talk – that could help.
“But they get no sympathy from us – those of us here in Rutherglen are working for peace and harmony.”
He also stressed there had been no incidencies of Islamophobia directed at anyone in the Minhaj- ul- Quran centre.
“People in Rutherglen have always been friendly towards us – we have a close bond with our neighbours,” he said.
Church of Scotland minister the Rev Alistair May said he was “conflicted” about the Syria situation.
“I have listened to good arguments on both sides ,” said the Stonelaw Parish Church minister.
“My personal opinion is that I’m not convinced that airstrikes will provide a solution but I’m not going to adopt the moral high ground and say the strategy is wrong – I have respect for the arguments on both sides.
“Our thoughts are with those who may be afflicted in Syria. As a church, we pray for the area every week in our services,” he added.
Stonelaw congregation is also donating its Christmas offerings this year to the Tear Fund appeal to help displaced people in the Middle East.
The Church of Scotland has warned that launching air strikes on Syria will make things worse for people in that country, not better.
The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Convener of the Church and Society Council, said UK military action would lead to the “loss of more lives, more people displaced and more people living in great fear.”