The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) welcome the refocused Prevent Strategy. This Strategy correctly highlights that Mosques can play an important part in supporting those vulnerable in society and in particular those who are being groomed for terrorism. The Prevent Strategy includes interventions to stop people moving from extremism into terrorist-related activity.

 

The Review highlights that significant progress has been made by communities to equip faith leaders with the skills and the qualifications to reach out to young vulnerable people.

It would be incredibly naïve for anyone to say that there is no further work required.

Maulana Shahid Raza OBE Chairman of the MINAB said:

“Mosques are not the problem. Like other faith institutions, they can play a substantial role in building a better society – provide safe places for those who are vulnerable, promote greater citizenship and challenge those who support hate and terrorism.”

There is no doubt that Mosques, Imams, other faith leaders and volunteers can play an important role to promote stronger integration and challenge ideologies that provide theological justification for hate and terrorism.

Terrorist recruiters target vulnerable people. By working together, the Government, voluntary and faith bodies can reduce the risk of radicalisation in our communities. We urge the Government to facilitate greater joint up working between voluntary organisations and other partner agencies to prevent radicalisation.

Faith institutions can play an important role in supporting schools, universities, health sector, police, social services, and the criminal justice system to stop radicalisation and create positive opportunities for individuals at risk of any form of harm or criminality.

Safeguarding the interest of the State and individuals targeted by terrorists is a duty of all people of faith and non-faith. We must learn from the past. Intra-community conflict, sectarianism, party politics and competition for resources must not undermine our commitment to safety of our communities.

As outlined in the strategy, the delivery of Prevent requires more robust evaluation and monitoring to ensure effectiveness.

The Government must engage all communities. Engagement must be meaningful, and communication must be two-way. Poor communication in the past has resulted in the breakdown of relationships with important stakeholders feeling suspicious about the previous Prevent strategy.

Injustice and distorted ideologies that promote hate and terrorism are the key drivers for terrorist activities. Foreign policy misadventures of the previous Government should be addressed to support the Prevent Strategy.

Of course, beyond the scope of Prevent, Mosques and other faith institutions make a positive contribution by helping to create a society. Our Neighbourhoods project, to be launched soon, will demonstrate this very clearly. Put simply, mosques and Imams have the authority, know how, credibility and reach to Muslim communities that is just not available elsewhere.

In the past, MINAB was allocated Prevent funding on the basis that better-governed mosques and more capable Imams would increase community resilience to all forms of criminality, including terrorism. Met by exceptional commitment from grassroots Muslim communities, MINAB has been privileged to make a vital contribution in serving British mosque to build community resilience and better engagement of young people and women. Examples of our work are available on our website (www.minab.org.uk/youthengagement).

MINAB is unequivocal in its condemnation of any form of violence, or threat of violence, towards individuals or communities. These principles are embedded in our broad ranging programmes of support for mosques and mosque leaders.

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For media enquiries please contact the MINAB office on 02089937141 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors:

1. The Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board (MINAB) is the national representative body of all UK Muslim denominations. It was set up to promote good governance in Mosques and Imam Training Institutions through a process of self regulation. Since April 2010, MINAB has delivered over 35 events in different parts of the country. The MINAB is also a key national inter faith interlocutor.

2. MINAB is a unique body of different Muslim denominations working together with a membership of some 600 plus Mosques and Training Institution. Our role is critical in bringing all groups and denominations together to help create a better, safer and harmonious society for all.

3. We are a charity registered under the laws of  England and Wales.

4. MINAB is a community led independent body, non sectarian in its outlook, representing the diversity of Islam with no role in matters of theology and is broad based with an accountable system of representation.

5. MINAB recognises the importance of all communities working to foster community cohesion and to speak out against all forms of extremism.