Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Sadiq Khan to Asharq Al-Awsat: British Muslims Demand Integration and Learning English - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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London- With impending mayor elections waiting just around the corner, due on the 5th of May and would succeed the current London Mayor Boris Johnson, Labor Party candidate Sadiq Khan corroborated his determination for censoring social media outlets as to brazen out extremism and bolster security in minority inhabited areas.

Candidate Khan, of Pakistani provenance, in his interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper laid out the threatening capacity of social media introducing extremism into homes. Khan, in turn, if elected Mayor, promised to first shutdown websites promoting radical ideology and to review all provided available tactics on emergency identification and response to terrorist attacks or potent threats.

The Conservative Party saves no effort on associating the current Labor Party Muslim candidate with extremism, hoping that it would later play out in favor of Conservative Party candidate Zac Goldsmith in next week’s elections.

Goldsmith’s campaign is going downhill, so much that the conservative candidate spends most of his time speaking about his opponent, Khan said.

However, Goldsmith’s campaign managers have overlooked the fact that the people of London respect each other despite religion or ethnic background, Khan added.

Goldsmith works on dividing the London society and the people will not allow for that to happen, Khan believes.

Following is a selected set of questions answered by Candidate Sadiq Khan:

You have undertaken the responsibility of preserving London against terrorist attacks… similar to those who devastated Brussels and Paris… what solutions are you laying forth?

I have experienced the July 7th attacks that shook London in 2005. We have all witnessed the devastating attacks both Paris and Brussels suffered, and it is possible for the attacks to reoccur here in London.

Among the responsibilities any Mayor must account for is securing the safety of his city, and taking over the task on running the police department. Based on that, the first thing I plan on doing is to review all provided emergency services on identifying terrorist attacks and response mechanisms.

I will also make sure to take a look over linkages between the London transportation systems, terrorist emergency services, and how we could respond to similar patterns on terrorist attacks.

Whether witnessed by Europe or Mumbai, patterns showing the terrorists panicking spread into streets will be scrutinized. I will work on making sure that everything is under control.

How do you perceive the statement on it being easy to recruit terrorists through members from within the country?

It is important to direct attention to the fact that it is now possible to entice extremist ideology inside homes through social media outlets; there is no longer any need for face-to-face interaction, which would lead to expose or track down the inciter. For example, the three London girls who had left their homes and fled to Syria last year. The girls’ beliefs were affected from within their sleeping chambers.

I undertake the responsibility of closing down websites inciting terrorestic ideology, and will carry on collaboration with companies providing electronic services as to see that through. Twitter has taken positive measures concerning this matter. We must also rewire the police department to the residents of suburbs and neighborhoods. When speaking to counter-terrorism experts, they convey that one of the information sources that lead police to terrorism, prior to the attack’s engagement, is the surrounding community.

Based on that, when the public loses trust in the police department, a grave issue would surfaces and the police will no longer be able to procure is valuable information. In fact, I believe in the significance of citizens’ voluntary contribution to police efforts.

Concerning other means of confronting extremism, we must support role models presenting exemplary stances among British Muslims, show them what a great job they did, that this country does not hate them and that they can succeed here while conserving their religious values.

Integration is considered an important factor as well. In line with my vision, I wish to encourage more social integration so that a person has a diverse array of friends with different ethnic backgrounds.

Do you believe that the United Kingdom needs to increase efforts spent on helping Muslims effectively assimilating with the British community?

The first measures required for the government, is to work on reforming its agenda for prevention, which represents one of the four elements to the governmental counter-terrorism strategy. It is clear that this agenda is unsuccessful and that citizens currently do not have trust in it.

As for social integration, I would like to set an example: I believe that there is nothing wrong in people learning how to speak in English, and there should be no shame in that because that is the only way to communicate with neighbors, apply for a job, speak to instructors at your children’s school and to fit in the British community.

On its behalf, a few years ago, the government cut down funds going to colleges accountable for teaching English; which I consider was a wrong decision. Now, they criticize people who do not speak English. Which is why, I believe that encouraging people to speak English is achieved through guaranteeing the availability of colleges arranging free sessions for teaching English.