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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Muslim project leader set to share anti-extremism message with US

The head of a scheme tackling radicalisation of Muslim youth in Scotland has been invited to explain the project to the US Congress.

Azeem Ibrahim, who helped establish the Glasgow-based Solas Foundation less than a year ago, will brief a Homeland Security meeting in Washington’s Capitol Hill later this month.

Solas, which is funded through the businessman’s charity, the Ibrahim Foundation, aims to tackle Muslim extremism at grassroots level through education.

Ibrahim, 34, said: “It is vital to reach young people and teach them the tenets of Islam while explaining extremist narrative and letting them recognise it for the perversion and idiocy it actually is.

“Prevention is better than cure and our project has been very successful so far in making a difference on the ground.”

Ibrahim became involved in Solas last year when it was set up by Scottish Muslim scholars Shaykh Amer Jamil and Shaykh Ruzwan Muhammed.

The academics devised a syllabus designed to be accessible at various levels, which is currently taught at Glasgow University.

Ibrahim, who was named an emerging world leader by Yale University, wrote a policy memo detailing the work of Solas.
This came to the notice of advisers to the Obama government and the invitation to Capitol Hill followed.

Ibrahim believes young Muslims become radicalised when they begin to believe Islam condones violence and shut their minds to other viewpoints.

“A lot of ideas are being floated that are reprehen-sible: registration of mosques, increased security checks on Muslims, racial profiling.

“In the long term you are only alienating people.”

He added: “When you research how radicalisation actually works, one striking fact sticks out: almost all Islamist terrorists actually have no authentic education in Islam.”

Meanwhile, in an online survey of 2152 UK adults last month showed 58% of respondents associate Islam with extremism, 50% associate it with terrorism and 69% believe it encourages the repression of women

Herald Scotland