A Muslim leader in Hounslow has called on the Government to introduce a ‘pledge of loyalty’ to their country for all schoolchildren.Zaheer Khan, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Hounslow South, welcomed the Prime Minister‘s latest measures to tackle extremism but claimed more could be done.”In promoting the concept of loyalty the Government can go further and introduce a pledge of loyalty to one’s country for all children in schools,” he said.”The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as part of its pledge, includes such a statement to promote loyalty of its members to their country of residence as we see loyalty to our country as a key part of our faith.
“This promotes identity, integration and inspires our youth to serve their country with pride.”Speaking at a school in Birmingham on Monday (July 20), David Cameron said Islam was a peaceful religion but it was an “exercise in futility” to deny any connection between the faith and the extremists claiming to act in its name.”To deny it [terrorism] has anything to do with Islam means you disempower the critical reforming voices; the voices that are challenging the fusing of religion and politics; the voices that want to challenge the scriptural basis which extremists claim to be acting on; the voices that are crucial in providing an alternative worldview that could stop a teenager’s slide along the spectrum of extremism,” he added.
Mr Cameron announced he was setting up a new ‘community engagement forum’ so he could hear from groups which are challenging extremism. He also called on broadcasters to give Muslims with a “proper claim to represent liberal values in local communities… the platform they deserve”.Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Hounslow welcomed aspects of the speech, including the announcement of plans to allow parents to cancel their children’s passports to prevent them joining terrorists in Syria. But they objected to the Prime Minister’s decision to link extremism with the Islamic faith.Hanworth Park councillor Hanif Khan, who is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said: “We acknowledge the Prime Minister’s reference to Islam being a religion of peace, but we disagree that there is any link to Islam and extremism.
“There is absolutely no link and the Holy Quran rejects extremism outright. It is unfortunately true that certain Muslims carry out terrorists acts in the name of Islam, and for such horrific acts those Muslims must be accountable, not the religion of Islam.”Also, the speech contained a number of positive ideas, such as giving parents the right to cancel children’s passports, the need for the media to have greater responsibility in the views it promotes and the need to monitor preachers of hate online and in international broadcasts – all these are critical for our security.”
Zia Qureshi, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Hounslow North, welcomed Mr Cameron’s speech but said wider measures were needed to deny extremist views “the oxygen of publicity”.