Dr Hojjat Ramzy,
Imam and director of the Oxford 
Islamic Information Centre

I COULDN’T agree more with our Prime Minister’s call to an ‘end for finger pointing’ when it comes to extremism and radicalisation.

But by accusing British Muslims of ‘helping Jihadists’, this is exactly what Mr Cameron is doing.

Muslim individuals and organisations around the country tirelessly condemn all acts of terrorism, firebrand preachers and online grooming, which is causing immeasurable pain to British Muslim families whose children fall victim to these crimes.

The Prime Minister’s accusations are not only hurtful, but harmful and diminish the work being done by British Muslims, causing unnecessary division and stigmatisation.

His approach is counter-productive: fear and suspicion will only breed marginalisation, and those who feel marginalised are far more susceptible to radicalisation.

Former cabinet minister Syeda Warsi was right when she said: “David Cameron is at risk of demoralising British Muslims with his ‘misguided emphasis’ on saying that some people in the community are quietly condoning Islamist extremism.”

Blaming only the Muslim community for terrorism, radicalisation and extremism is just as bad as placing sole responsibility at the Government’s doorstep.

The problem is multifaceted and needs a multifaceted response sensitive to the fact that Muslims too are suffering as a result of terrorism around the world.

More does need to be done but we need a united effort.

Alienating the Muslim community will only add to a climate of suspicion and undermine the fight against IS and other terrorist organisations.

When we point fingers internally, rather than reaching out the hand of cooperation within our communities, extremism will flourish.

Calling on Muslims to do more with no acknowledgement of current efforts will demoralise those, like myself, working to eradicate radicalisation within our communities.

We must learn to trust each other and to spread a message of trust, a message of a united effort against extremism.

We need to talk to each other, not at each other. We need to sit down together, not stand apart.

I believe that in unity we will find strength and a solution.

At the forefront of this must be education within the Muslim community and society at large.

Young people who feel disillusioned or upset by various elements of the Government’s foreign policies should be educated as to how to express their concerns and make change democratically.

Muslims also need to be increasingly aware of the warning signs of radicalisation, and more religious leaders should be encouraged to place greater emphasis on tackling any extremist ideology in their communities through their sermons and grassroots work.

The message should ring out loud and clear that Islam in its true form completely and utterly condemns any act of terrorism and is, at its core, a religion of mercy, tolerance and justice. The word ‘Islam’ means peace.

To think that Almighty God, who describes Himself as the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate, would condone or reward acts of barbarism or murderous intents is completely illogical.

Across wider society, the rising trend of Islamophobia – fed by a barrage of media coverage and misunderstandings of the Islamic faith – needs to be tackled.

Unity works both ways. The Muslim communities of Britain want to unite to tackle the problem of extremism and radicalisation, but this is hard when they are all being targeted and tarnished with the same brush.

I sincerely hope that, in light of this, Mr Cameron will rethink his stance and be wiser with his words, so as not to ostracise an entire community who are working to tackle a problem which affects them first and foremost.

As an Imam, I pray that Almighty Allah, in this holy month of Ramadan, will unite all communities in support of each other so that we may act in brotherhood to eradicate this awful problem sweeping across the world, and bring much needed peace to all.