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UK think-tank demands end to influx of Islamists

An important think-tank in Britain, has in a study asked Islamic leaders in UK to accept values of democracy, reports Vijay Dutt.

india Updated: Dec 27, 2003 23:21 IST

The Civitas, an important think-tank in Britain, has in a study report titled "The West, Islam andIslamism" asked Islamic religious leaders living in the country to accept the values of liberal democracy like Hindus, Sikhs and Jews have done.

It has demanded that the fanatical Islamists who preach hatred of western values should be prevented from coming to work in Britain. It has also called for an immediate reform of immigration process " to prevent a further influx of Islamist ideologues".

Immigrants must accept liberal values including equality of opportunity women and freedom of speech, says the report. They must acknowledge they are better protected and freer than they would be in almost any Islamist country.

The warning against Islamist fanatics by Civitas has come in the backdrop of the banning of the radical cleric Abu Hamza from preaching at Finsbury Park mosque in north London. Evidence has now surfaced indicating that he has had close links with the al-Qaeda.

Many MPs have also been, albeit discreetly, asking the Government to vet carefully applications by clerics from countries like Pakistan for coming to Britain for becoming Imams and preachers at mosques here. There are reportedly around 1200 mosques in the UK.

The study suggests that fundamentalist Islam is incompatible with western values and should be disavowed by British Muslim. The report while drawing distinction between moderate Muslim and Islamists says, "The distinction depends in practice on moderate Muslims being more forthright in distinguishing themselves from their ideological co-religionists."

It also says that it seems to be extremely difficult for most moderate Muslims "to take up any public position against those of ideological Islamists and to retain credibility within their own community."

Authors of the report Lady Cox, a prominent human rights campaigner and John Marks, Director of the Education Research Trust said that the concept of Islamophobia developed in a 1997 report from the Runnymede Trust is used to close down criticism of the religion.

First Published: Dec 24, 2003 21:35 IST