Birmingham MP Khalid Mahmood backs calls from Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid for parents to challenge mosques which fail to condemn extremism
A Birmingham MP has backed calls for Muslim parents to challenge mosques which fail to condemn extremism.
Kahlid Mahmood (Lab Perry Barr) said: “It is a responsibility for the Muslim community and I think the Muslim community needs to look at itself.”
And he said it was wrong to think calls for Muslims to look out for signs of extremism were “picking on the Muslim community”.
Mr Mahmood, the first Muslim MP at Westminster to represent an English constituency, was speaking after Bromsgrove MP Sajid Javid (Con) told the BBC that parents should expect mosques to speak out against extremism.
David Cameron, the Prime Minister, has argued that some extremist ideas – which stop short of advocating violence – are quietly “condoned” in sections of British Muslim communities.
Speaking on BBC1’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Javid, who comes from a Muslim background, said: “If you are a Muslim parent and you send your children to a mosque, if the Imam in that mosque hasn’t condemned what happened in Tunisia, for example, you should be asking yourself, ‘why hasn’t he done that, what’s stopped him from doing that?’
“These are the kind of questions Muslims should be asking themselves because what’s happening is a peaceful, compassionate religion has been taken and twisted by this poisonous ideology and that cannot be allowed to stand.’”
Mr Javid, a senior member of the Government as Business Secretary, was born in Rochdale, Lancashire to a bus driver father from Pakistan and grew up in Bristol. He said that as a child he had never encountered extremist ideas and they had nothing to do with Islam.
Mr Mahmood said he agreed. He said: “Parents do need to take responsibility.
“In any institution it’s important for parents to take an interest. It’s important for parents to play an active role in their mosques just as they would in schools.
“I’m sorry that there are a few people who believe this is about picking on the Muslim community.
“It is a responsibility for the Muslim community and I think the Muslim community needs to look at itself.
“It’s not for government to do that, it’s for the community to do that.
“It’s no different to protecting your children from drugs or some of the unpleasant stuff on the internet.
“There is work for the Government to do, such as providing a better border force so that we know who’s going out and coming in, but those are different issues.”
David Cameron has argued that extremist views which might encourage terrorism are being tolerated in parts of the UK.
He spelt this out in the House of Commons on July 1, when he said there was a problem with groups and people in the UK “who are very clever at endorsing extremism but stopping one step short of actually condoning terrorism.”
And in a speech to the Global Security Forum in Bratislava, Slovaia, on June 19, Mr Cameron said British young people who became terrorists may have been influenced by “people who hold some of these views who don’t go as far as advocating violence, but who do buy into some of these prejudices giving the extreme Islamist narrative weight.”
That included “firebrand preachers” who broadcast sermons in online videos, he said – but he added that these ideas were sometimes “quietly condoned … perhaps even in parts of your local community”.
And in the House of Commons on June 29, he explained exactly what types of ideas he had in mind.
Mr Cameron said: “Some people and some organisations – frankly, we know which organisations – go along with some of the narrative, think that a caliphate might not be such a bad idea, that Christians and Muslims cannot really live together and that democracy is inferior to another sort of system, and do not believe in equality. Those are people that we must call out, too.”
But his claims have been criticised by Birmingham Ladywood MP Shabana Mahmood.
Speaking in the Commons in June, she said: “The thrust of the Prime Minister’s comments . . . are that, as part of dealing with symptoms and causes, British Muslims must step up and call out those who are silently condoning extremist ideologies.
“But does he agree that most ordinary British Muslims, among whom I count myself, have no more knowledge and ability to step up to the plate and call out in that way than any other ordinary British person?”