In recent years, Europe has witnessed shocking and deadly terror attacks; from the Charlie Hebdo attacks, to the Paris attacks last year, even the recent attacks in Amsterdam, Belgium. When these crimes happen, most of the perpetrators end up being criminals who claim to be doing it in the name of Islam. Consequently, most people respond by hating all Muslims in general; this hatred leads to a spike in Islamophobia, and before anyone knows it, communities become divided, and it becomes really hard tackling the problem at hand. Here in the UK, Lewisham Islamic Center has categorically stated that it condemns all acts of violence perpetuated in the name of religion, be it in the name of Islam, Christianity, or Jewish extremism.
Immediately after the Paris Terror attacks, one of the major newspapers in the UK, The Sun, published a sensational, and outrageous poll, that stated that nearly one in five British Muslims has some sympathy with those who had fled the UK to fight for IS [so-called Islamic State] in Syria. This supposed poll was accompanied by a photo of Jihadi John, the masked ISIS executioner who was said to have run away from Britain, to go fight in Syria. This poll by The Sun was a Slap in the face, not just for the law abiding, and peace loving Muslims across the UK, but more so, for British Families whose children had escaped to Syria to fight. There was an outcry from leaders of all faiths and sectors, denouncing the poll as sensational, outrageous, and grossly exaggerated. The Independent Press Standards Organization, which is the regulatory body for all publications in the UK, said it had received over 3,000 complaints from both Muslims, and non Muslims, regarding that poll.
The Lewisham Islamic Center does not advocate for, condone, or preach violence in the name of whatever religion. In our center, we have in place guidance and counseling programs for both young males and females. We never encourage anyone to go to abroad to wage war, or to wage it anywhere else for that matter. Besides, we have sports events and activities where the youth can direct their energy, and keep themselves occupied during their free time. LIC is working closely with the Metropolitan police, and other law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem of extremism and radicalization; it tarnishes the good name of Islam, and we have no interest or gain, from having a few individuals soil our good name.
Lewisham Islamic Center will continue working with the local authorities and law enforcers, communities, and everyone involved in the fight against extremism. We don’t tolerate violence, neither do we advocate for it, in the name of religion or otherwise.
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