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UK Muslim Grassroots Group Wants to Eradicate Extremism

A group of reformed-extremists, want to eradicate extremism in Britain's Muslim community. The Quilliam Foundation wants to help mainstream Muslims spread the message that a vast majority of Muslims are peaceful.

By countering al-Qaeda's narrative, the group hopes to facilitate a reconciliation between the West and Islam, beginning in London. The foundation is named after a 19th century Englishman who converted to Islam.

The think tank's website says that as former activists of radical Islamist organizations, the founders are familiar with the mindset and methods of extremist groups. But, now they hope to help Western Muslims flourish without the cultural and political baggage of India and the Middle East.

Do you think a grassroots effort is the right way counter extremism and change public perceptions? Or, should energy be directed toward major international players?


bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
NYFashionista - I've been reading THE ISLAMIST on the bus and have been getting looks as well, though I am a bit nervous about bringing the book back into the US, strangely! I think if one just glanced at the title, one could make a lot of incorrect assumptions. I think anyone who would like to begin to understand (not saying that I do) an extremist point of view, or how it may develop in young minds should read that book. I haven't read anything by Irshad Manji, but I will have to. I think that katybug has a great point about integration - there are always a select few from several different cultures (when I say few, I actually mean neighborhoods) who emigrate to another country and choose NOT to integrate (though it can be very, very difficult especially when you are pushed into the periphery of your surroundings) and rather believe the new country should adapt to their culture and beliefs. It's a rather all or nothing approach.
katybug518 katybug518 9 years
I think any, and all methods used to combat extremism is GREAT! Especially in Europe, where Muslims have a more difficult time integrating into "middle-class society". When you have a large majority of any population living in slums, their anger and rage at their surroundings is taken out on innocent civilians. I'm glad to hear stories of people who have turned their lives around, and are now attempting to "pay it forward"
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I think it is a great place to start.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
NYFashionista, I got the same kind of attention when I read Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses. Let's say it's not exactly poolside reading. I was thrilled to have the author autograph my copy! I think his fatwa was "lifted" but he still gets death threats. I saw him speak and he mostly talked about what authors face out there in the world. It was really eye-opening and very sad.
NYFashionista NYFashionista 9 years
bigestivediscuit- I have read THE ISLAMIST by Ed Husain! Great book I too encourage others to read it. I actually read some of it on the subway (live in NYC) anddd let's just say it got a LOT of attention :) Raciccarone- I agree with you that some major international players are somewhat responsible for the extremism that is occurring within lam today. However, I also think that they can't be completely blamed for this extremism. You do have to look at yourself and those around you before acting. I think moderate Muslims need to speak up more against extremist Islam and this grass-roots organization is a great example of the kind of "speaking out against" I refer to. Have any of you read anything by Irshad Manji? I find her thinking to be very interesting as well. She poses many questions about Islam most dare not ask. Interestingly though, the very people who claim to be moderates have backlashed against her viciously and others have issued Fatwas (death threats) against her.
syako syako 9 years
well I still think the only person to blame for your problems is yourself.
jubex jubex 9 years
i think you are also the product of your environment, so the only person to blame is not just yourself...i'm not in any way defending extremism, but the world isn't black and white...i know if i lived in iraq i would be very angry with the invasors, that's all i'm saying...
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
This is precisely what is needed. I made this point a few years ago when the war on terrorists began. We are fighting a manipulative negative dark ideology when it comes to Al Qaeda. An ideology can not be destroyed by any bullet, bomb, gas, or torture. If we were to bring to bear all of our military might and smote the Middle East into oblivion. The ideology lives on. It can not be destroyed by any weapon. However, it can be changed and if the state department does not get behind this organization and support their mission they're making a foolish mistake.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I agree with you and your mother Syako! I think we should respect other people's elected governments no matter how much we disagree. Just like here at CitizenS. And if we don't, either we should be prepared for extremists to hate us, or someone from TeamSugar to flag you.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Oh, and well put, raciccarone.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'm just trying to clarify what "major international players" were being referred to....
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Excellent! And a grassroots effort is definitely an interesting way to go, with a lot of potential. I think it will be a lot more viable to try to change the people's minds, in hopes that the leaders will realize their positions are untenable as they lose support, than it would be to try to change the minds of those few madmen themselves.
syako syako 9 years
I grew up being told the only person you should blame is YOURSELF. If you cannot do that, then my mom would not be proud of you. So, point being, turn that finger toward yourself mr. extremist because that's where it belongs. (i'm not talking about YOU rac or anyone on these boards) I'm so tired of all the pointing fingers.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
UnDave, I think there are some holes in the Iranian history there. For one, the CIA overthrew their democratically elected leader in 1953 and installed The Shah. What happened in 1979 was a result of that. So should we blame the extremists for being mad at us for propagating a man who oppressed and tortured them for decades, or should we maybe take some responsibility?
syako syako 9 years
could you guys maybe elaborate with some facts or at least opinions?
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Nice new Avator Raci. I disagree with you on who creates extremists. the "major international players" weren't around 29 years ago when Iraq overran the American embassy. It was different players when the towers were bombed the first time, and when the USS Cole was hit.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Raciccarone, I know what you're talking about and I agree. That's why I don't think they can eradicate extremism since they're part of the cause.
syako syako 9 years
and how exactly?
syako syako 9 years
like who?
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I think it's the major international players who create the extremists.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
What can we (I) do to help?
cine_lover cine_lover 9 years
Every little bit helps.
Auntie-Coosa Auntie-Coosa 9 years
This is a good start and maybe other areas will create "clubs" too. Most Muslims are MODERN Muslims. Just like the Jews with the Old Testament, Modern Muslims read the Koran as a "we don't stone people any more" and "it's allegory for our life, not an order to go kill an infidel." The problem has been that if they spoke out, a fatwah was proclaimed and they were 'dead meat.' The Modern Muslims MUST get the ear of the imams and mullahs and convince them that all this killing is self-defeating. The day the imams and mullahs preach Modern Islam, I'll dance in the street.
kia kia 9 years
I say anything that helps people realize that the majority of muslims are good people with a peaceful faith helps.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I live in East London, not too far from the famous East London mosque so I have heard and read a lot about this controversial foundation and though it has its critics, I think it's a fantastic start. If you haven't already, you MUST read THE ISLAMIST by Ed Husain, who is one of the founders (I believe) of Quilliam. The book is about his journey from joining an extremist group and why/how he left. It is absloutely brilliant and EVERYONE throughout the world, especially American and British people, should read it.
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