Yorkshire: Community leaders unite to discuss British values
Removing radicalisation from Yorkshire
Communities must continue to show a united front against forces on ‘both sides of the fence who attempt to plant seeds of division’, Makkah Masjid Imam, Qari Asim, said last weekend.
Speaking during a safeguarding seminar at Carlton Junior School in Dewsbury, the Leeds based Imam praised local community resolve as attempts to tackle extremism and radicalisation continues across the UK.
“We’ve had people from this part of the country, not only going off to Syria and Iraq but also having to tolerate members of the far right coming and marching on their streets,” he said.
“In order to deal with these challenges of extremism, we need to have an intelligent and robust strategy which will involve both parents and children, and teachers and community leaders.”
“These communities have lived together in this region for many years and we should not let anything destabilise the relationships that exist between these communities.”
Mr Asim was just one of the panellists at the seminar, organised to discuss the Prevent agenda, British values and dual heritage.
He was joined by West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson, Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff, Bradford West MP Naz Shah, Carlton Junior head teacher, Rizwana Mahmood, and Cabinet member for schools and learning in Kirklees, Cllr Shabir Pandor.
The hour-and-a-half event gave each panellist the chance to speak about the aforementioned issues before a question and answer session for those in attendance.
Deemed a success by the organisers, Mr Asim also praised the event for its proactive message.
“These kind of events showcase that the Muslim community is taking ownership of the challenges faced by us all,” he added.
“It is only by sticking together that we can defeat any racist, offensive, extremist ideas.”
Last year, a teenager from Dewsbury became the UK’s youngest suicide bomber after he blew himself up during a Daesh attack in Iraq.
Reports of people travelling to join extremists in the war-torn nations have also been seen in Bradford.
Ms Shah, who represents Bradford West, said the seminar allowed community leaders to discuss the most effective safeguarding techniques, for both children and the wider community.
Meanwhile, Ms Sherriff added: “Everybody has a part to play in terms of preventing radicalisation.”
As well as a lively discussion, presentations were also made on the day by Kirklees Council’s Prevent team, Westborough High School and representatives from anti-extremist group, Engage.