Mosque leaders say foreign policy 'fuels extremism' (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Mosque leaders say foreign policy 'fuels extremism'
MUSLIMS who conspired to murder have been condemned by local Mosque leaders.
But representatives of the Muslim community said it is "counterproductive" not to acknowledge the role of British foreign policy in the radicalisation of Muslim youth.
Several young Muslims were arrested connection with an alleged plot to blow up transatlantic flights during a massive police operation across the borough two years ago.
Many members of the community said they felt under seige as the worlds's media descended on the area.
Abdulla Ahmed Ali, 27, of Prospect Hill, Walthamstow, Tanvir Hussain, 27, of Nottingham Road, Leyton, and Assad Sarwar, of High Wycombe, were found guilty of conspiring to cause mass murder on Monday.
However the jury were unable to reach a verdict on any of the eight defendants, including three others from Waltham Forest, in relation to the charge they intended to blow up airliners.
In a statement the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques, which represents eight mosques, said: "We would like to emphasise that Islam rejects terrorism in all its forms. Islam does not legitimise using violence as a form of political dissent.
"It is with great regret that this situation has occurred and we are saddened as a community. We must understand the factors that have caused this and strive to prevent this from happening again.
"During the trial the men stated they acted to 'create awareness of unjust foreign policy'. We condemn their actions but it is counterproductive to deny foreign policy played a part in the radicalisation of these young men. The Muslim community has as much concern for the source, as it has for the product, of radicalisation.
"We would like to state we are working to counter the extremist views within our community but the government must acknowledge that the actions it supports in foreign countries is the main fuel these violent extremist use to drive their campaign.
"We are engaging with the young and vulnerable with intellectual and rational arguments to channel the anger in to legitimate and effective forms of communication and non-violent action. At the same time we are exposing the deviant ideas of the few, propagating violence as a means to their ends."
During a visit to Leytonstone earlier this year, communities secretary Hazel Blears denied that a change in the government's policy abroad would stem the threat of terrorism.
Ali, Hussain and Sarwar had earlier pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cause public nuisance, along with Ibrahim Savant, of Folkstone Road, Walthamstow, Waheed Zaman, Queens Road, Walthamstow, Arafat Waheed Khan, 26, of Farnan Avenue, Walthamstow, and Umar Islam of High Wycombe.