Cen­tre runs classes to help stu­dents pre­vent rad­i­cal­i­sa­tion

Rutherglen Reformer - - News -

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.”

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