PM tells MPs that moderate Islam should take bigger role in rooting out extremist minority
Tony Blair yesterday endured his ninth cross-examination by the Commons liaison committee, made up of chairmen of select committees, with the focus ranging across energy, migration, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Northern Ireland. British Muslims
Mr Blair vented his frustration at Britain’s Muslim community, saying its leaders had to do more to attack not just the extremists’ methods, but their false sense of grievance about the west.
He said too many Muslim leaders gave the impression that they understood and sympathised with the grievances, an attitude that ensured the extremists would never be defeated. He insisted government alone could not root out extremism.
Sadiq Khan, Labour MP for Tooting, said on Monday that the Muslim community was “frustrated and disappointed” that the government had failed to implement the recommendations by a government taskforce. Shahid Malik, the MP for Dewsbury, also said there had at least been a communications failure.
But Mr Blair said: “The government has its role to play in this, but the government alone cannot go and root out the extremism in these communities.” He said he was happy to meet the taskforce to review progress but rejected its call for a public independent inquiry into July 7 as a huge diversion of resources.
Mr Blair’s remarks were rejected by the Muslim Council of Britain. Its spokesman, Inayat Bunglawala, said: “Many Muslims across the UK believe that the UK’s participation in the wars against Afghanistan and Iraq and the resulting carnage we have seen in those countries have been a key contributory factor in the radicalisation of some young Muslims.”
The shadow attorney general, Dominic Grieve, said: “If we are to succeed in promoting better integration, and with it a reduction in Islamophobia, this requires a major effort. There is no evidence of the government making a really positive contribution to achieving this outcome.”