‘Tell police if young people are in danger of being radicalised’

YOUNG people who are in danger of being radicalised by extremists should be reported to police, a Tory councillor said this week.

Coun Salim Patel (Con, Dewsbury South) spoke out after two boys seemingly travelled to Syria during the Easter holidays.

He said: “We need to talk openly about the risks to our young people so we can stop this happening.

“It’s very, very difficult, but if anyone has concerns over a family member or a neighbour they should contact the police for help.”

Coun Patel’s advice was backed by Kirklees Council chief executive Adrian Lythgo.

He added anyone showing signs of being radicalised or who may have come back from Syria should be reported.

And it also includes anyone planning to travel there or to any other conflict zone.

West Yorkshire Police assistant chief constable Mark Milsom said: “Officers can intervene and provide families with support and advice.

“Our priority is to keep communities safe and away from areas of danger such as Syria.

“This isn’t about criminalising people. It’s about preventing tragedies by offering support to communities, families, young and vulnerable people.”

Former Kirkees Council leader Mehboob Khan said sometimes imams can be a barrier.

The government counter-terrorism advisor said: “All the mosques I know preach the right message.

“But most young people go through a phase where they are rebellious as that’s part of growing up.

“We need to ask imams to give their sermons in both English and Urdu. Far too many imams solely rely on Urdu.”

Arif Ahmad, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Association in Dewsbury, agreed.

He said: “If the imam doesn’t speak English and the main language young people converse in is English, there’s going to be distance between them.”

Anyone with any information about the missing boys can call police on 101 or the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321.

Other concerns can be reported to police or Kirklees Council’s safeguarding unit on 01924 326097.

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