Foreign Policy Blamed For Muslim Extremism

    Government foreign policy is a “key contributory factor” in driving British Muslims to extremism, official Home Office advisers have concluded. The groups said no foreign policy justified terrorism A group of Islamic experts appointed by Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, after the July 7 attacks said the Government should learn from the impact of policies abroad. The advisors also condemned a wide range of the Government’s anti-terror proposals, saying the measures risked alienating law-abiding Muslims and driving fanatics underground. “British foreign policy – especially in the Middle East – cannot be left unconsidered as a factor in the motivations of criminal radical extremists,” their report said. The working groups’ final report said “radical impulses” among the Muslim community were often triggered by “perceptions of injustices” in western foreign policy. The team of experts, which included Yusuf Islam, formerly the singer Cat Stevens, said those who criticise British foreign policy should not be assumed to be disloyal. “Peaceful disagreement is a sign of a healthy democracy,” the report stated. “Dissent should not be conflated with ‘terrorism’, ‘violence’ or deemed inimical to British values.” London bombings However Inayat Bunglawala, convenor of one of the seven committees, said that no foreign policy issue justified acts of terror. The report also attacked controversial plans in the Terrorism Bill to create a new offence of “glorifying terrorism”. “The proposal … as currently formulated could lead to a significant chill factor in the Muslim community in expressing legitimate support for self-determination struggles around the world … because of fear of being misunderstood and implicated for terrorism,” it said. Ifath Nawaz, deputy convenor of one of the working groups, said there was huge concern about the anti-terrorism legislation: “It is excessive and it is going to drive people underground.”

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