• Monday, October 03, 2022

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Muslim leaders should do more to tackle radicalisation: Ex-MI6 chief

Sir Richard Dearlove, former head of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (Photo by Cate Gillon/Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

SIR Richard Dearlove has said Muslim leaders should be forthcoming in tackling radicalisation and Islamist extremism in their communities.

The former chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service said the involvement of community leaders makes counter-radicalisation efforts more effective than others telling their people what to do.

He felt there is a general “reluctance” in the community to address the issue and ensure that extremists do not succeed in misleading the thinking of young people.

“If you are looking at Islamist extremism, the Islamic community should be dealing with it themselves and there is a reluctance for them to do so,” he told The Telegraph.

“What you don’t want it to be is Christians telling Muslims what to do. It should be Muslims telling Muslims what to do.”

If the Taliban allows terror groups to operate as it did during its previous regime, it could inspire some people in the UK to travel to Afghanistan, the former MI6 chief feared.

“When the pandemic isn’t raging, you can freely travel to Pakistan and it is very easy to pop over the border to Afghanistan if those activities are revived”.

“You have to depend on the local communities to know what their young people are doing. If a kid goes off to visit relatives in Pakistan it becomes a family matter. It’s important that individuals are aware of what their young people are up to,” he said.

Communities achieved some progress at policing themselves but more has to be done, he said, ahead of the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Sir Dearlove also appreciated Singapore for developing a “successful” counter-radicalisation model which is “extensively used”.

“The model the Singaporeans developed was used quite extensively and followed by other countries with large Muslim components and even countries which were majority Muslim… They used their own religious leaders to run their deradicalisation programmes. It’s a model which works,” he told The Telegraph.

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