Rochdale’s Answer to Hazel Blears Citizenship Courses for Rochdale Mosques- “No thanks”

By Majed Iqbal- Today’s news story of Muslim Children being taught citizenship in mosque schools as part of a bid to prevent them being turned into “extremists” comes as a real surprise. Surprising because Rochdale has been mentioned specifically as an area where such an initiative will be rolled out in “one mosque”. Other areas include London, Leicester, Birmingham, Oldham, and Bradford.

“We have made significant progress working with communities to build an alliance against violent extremists,” Ms Blears says.

Talking of this “Alliance”, in Rochdale meeting after meeting which debated the “Violent Extremism” pathfinder fund which was proposed by the then Communities secretary, Ruth Kelly, was unanimously rejected by Influential Community Leaders in Rochdale. So who exactly is Ms Blears referring to when she mentions she has been “working with communities to build an alliance against violent extremists”?

The initiative also includes a new independent board of academic and theological experts and a group of community leaders to advise on local responses to tackling extremism. Who exactly are the personalities in Rochdale doing this and where was their presence in the community meetings that took place in this town amongst major decision makers?

The Citizenships program is supposed “to show youngsters there is no conflict between their religion and being British”. this comes in stark contrast to the findings of the report commissioned by Peter Oborne, “Muslims under siege” from the Dispatches Program where it actively proved that Muslims are singled out for discrimination and abuse and are used as game by politicians for Political objectives.

Report commissioners Peter Oborne and James Jones in their Report Introduction write “The seed for this pamphlet was planted in October 2006 when Jack Straw and other cabinet ministers raised the issue of Muslim women wearing the veil. It soon became clear that this was more than a random rumination from a member of the government. Rather Labour appeared to have made the extraordinary decision to try to identify with a general mood of resentment and anxiety about the presence of Muslim communities in this country and to intervene in the politics of religious identity”.

So where is the real sense of belonging for Muslim Communities who peacefully live here but are actively maligned? Do we need Islamic theology to explain to us how we should be good citizens or do attitudes in British Society need to be changed to make Muslims feel more accommodated?

So where are these “fringe elements” in Rochdale who are towing this narrow and intellectually bankrupt agenda who are having closed door meetings with Politicians and deciding the destiny of Rochdale Muslims before even consulting the community?

I also organised a community event titled “Extremism, Islam and the Muslim community” in February this year in Rochdale in the heart of the Muslim community which was attended by over 200 people including non-Muslims. The event challenged the government agenda and questioned why it was so hell bent on throwing millions of pounds at the Muslim Community as part of its effort to drive the campaign on the “War on Terror” or as i say, the “War on ERROR”?

Everybody was in agreement that the Government indeed had an agenda to make the Muslim Community silent on Foreign Policy issues related to Iraq and Afghanistan and blame a bogey man instead, “Extremism” for the causes of Terrorism.

This arguement comes based on numerous detailed evidences provided as far back as April 2005 when a report drawn up by the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) entitled “International Terrorism: Impact of Iraq” was explicit, stating: “We judge that the conflict in Iraq has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism and will continue to have an impact in the long term.

So are Ministers doing there usual strut of having closed meetings with “personalities” in the Muslim community who either are politically naive to the bone or are willing to work for a false agenda which is damaging for the Muslim Community?



  1. Citizenship classes in Masjids? What next? Will the government set up Shariah councils advising Muslims how to get married and telling us off for sending out kids to madrassah for 1-2 hours after school?

    The Muslim community has displayed it can fully live in peace and harmony with all races and backgrounds of people. The purpose of these programmes is to further pressure Muslims into changing their views on Islam to make it a more western compatable Islam, i.e. an Islam where women can wear t-shirts and jeans and choose their boyfriends, an Islam where men don’t grow up with beards, an Islam which is simply left to the home and Masjid.

    If anyone needs to be taught it’s the indigenous population who need to be taught how to live amongst other races, accept there are different people with different beliefs around the world, of which the UK is a very small part, that trying to force the western culture down the throats of people who have already lived it and tasted it and decide to stick to their own beliefs/practices is not the solution. They need to be taught their western way has failed here in the UK and western world (just read the news on crime, social breakdown of family, individualism etc).

    It should be the Muslim community giving lessons to the government on how to set up a basic community which exemplies the values of tolerance for other people, respect for elders, respect for your neighbour and so on.

    Places like Rochdale, Bradford, Blackburn don’t need this. Thanks but not thanks.

  2. I quite regularly read majeds blog with delight. I have to say certain individuals were trying to force a government agenda in Bradford where I reside and it was outright rejected by Imams, scholars,community leaders and islamic organisations. Please don’t take money at the expense of the ‘wishes’ of the muslim community. The people on the ground are a lot more astute than you think.

  3. Why would you want a mosque in your community that teaches that non-muslims are the scum of the earth? (quran 98.6)

    Ahmed Raza Khan: Mohammed Aqib Qadri:
    Indeed all disbelievers, the People of the Book(s) and the polytheists, are in the fire of hell – they will remain in it for ever; it is they who are the worst among the creation.

    Yusuf Ali:
    Those who reject (Truth), among the People of the Book and among the Polytheists, will be in Hell-Fire, to dwell therein (for aye). They are the worst of creatures.

    Lo! those who disbelieve, among the People of the Scripture and the idolaters, will abide in fire of hell. They are the worst of created beings.

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