Muslim scholars hammer out anti-terror message

Issue 699

MORE than 500 people attended an anti-terrorism event at a Savile Town mosque.

The three-hour seminar was organised by Engage Dewsbury, a new group set up in Savile Town to help combat radicalisation.

Titled ‘Islam & Terrorism – What Islam says about terrorism’, the session was held at Masjid-e-Umar on North View, Savile Town, and led by prominent scholars from the community.

It began with a presentation delivered by a local scholar about the dangers of the so-called Islamic State.

The audience were told that their actions do not conform to the spirit and teachings of Islam and do not represent the religion in any way, shape or form.

This was followed by a wide-ranging question-and-answer session led by one of the UK’s most respected muftis (Islamic jurist).

There was also a special scholars’ briefing as part of the event.

Engage Dewsbury is a Muslim-led voluntary group which aims to bring together people of all faiths and none to stand together against ISIS and raise voices against their evil ideology.

Its members have developed an action plan which includes mentoring schemes and the empowerment of women through forums and workshops.

There are also other initiatives to promote a counter-narrative to the toxic one being  promoted by ISIS in their efforts to recruit more and more Western Muslims.

The event was attended by Insp Nadeem Khan from the North East Counter Terrorism Unit. Insp Khan encouraged religious scholars to work closely with Engage and to develop a relationship with the police to increase engagement and dialogue.

A spokesman for Engage Dewsbury said: “The message coming from speakers at the event was one which reminded all attendees to be a force for good, not only in their communities but as part of British society as a whole; to work together with people of all faiths and denominations in Britain, so that tolerance and respect for all is intrinsic and so that we can provide a narrative for the youth for an aspirational lifestyle, enabling them to be the best in both their spiritual and professional lives and being of use and of benefit to society in general.”

This message was heard by a near-capacity audience at Masjid-e-Umar, including local residents, senior scholars and Year 10 and 11 students from the nearby Markazi Masjid.

One of the scholars involved, Mufti Yusuf Sacha, said: “It was a great event and well attended. However, we need to do more of these and engage with both Muslims and non-Muslims on this issue.”

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