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How can we stem radicalisation of Muslim youths?

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Sajjad Karim MEP

How we can prevent Muslim youths from turning their backs on British values, rather than choosing a life of radicalisation and extremism….Sajjad Karim MEP explores for Asian Lite News

Sajjad Karim MEP
Sajjad Karim MEP

Islam for many people in the UK and even across the western world has become a word associated with the likes of Al-Qaeda or foreign wars in countries far, far away. It is painful to think that this is the case, but it is a reality. Even as this article goes to press the anti-Muslim drumbeat will be getting louder and louder, with a suspected Islamist attack on a factory near Grenoble, France and gunmen in Tunisia killing at least 27 people taking place.

With the threat of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq & Syria (ISIS) present now more than ever, the question on many peoples’ lips is what can be done to combat this ruthless and violent ideology?

Years of misguided foreign policy have arguably put us in the position we are now in. However, it is useless to debate why we are in this situation. Instead we should be examining how we can prevent Muslim youths from turning their backs on British values, rather than choosing a life of radicalisation and extremism.

It was only last week that Prime Minister David Cameron stressed the importance of tackling radicalisation at its source. He highlighted the role families and communities can play in countering extremism, also stating that ISIS was “one of the biggest threats the world has ever faced”.

To begin with, too much time and resources are spent on counter-terrorism. More effort should be put into preventing younger people from ever wanting to join extremist groups. If we take measures to prevent radicalisation in the first place, then there will be far lesser need for us to try and thwart the terrorist plots that will inevitably follow.

Sajjad Karim MEP with King Abdulla of Jordan. The Hashemite kingdom launches a military action against Islamic State
Sajjad Karim MEP with King Abdulla of Jordan. The Hashemite kingdom launches a military action against Islamic State

Like the Prime Minister has said, this should be done by starting at the source. I think there is a need for everybody to gain the knowledge and understanding of all the people who have made Britain what it is today.

Many people do not realise the contribution people from a whole range of races, countries and religions – including Muslims – have made to this wonderful country, because of this they do not feel part of Britain’s history. If they ¬†were to be educated in this regard, then you would have far less alienation and segregation, which can result in Muslim youths being radicalised.

Our history is diverse and Britain has been at its strongest, not when it has been navel gazing, but when it has been looking and reaching outwards. We need to show young Muslims that this is the case.

Communities, families and government must all play a part in helping to stop radicalisation. It must be a concerted effort, with everyone pulling together not just for the national interest, but for the wellbeing and future of our youth.