Researchers have long identified mosques and Islamic schools as potential hubs of domestic radicalization in the West, with numerous such institutions playing active roles in promoting extremism and even directly organizing terror attacks in recent years.
Authorities have found numerous cases of Islamic schools, especially private institutions, being at the center of terror plots.
In one of the most alarming cases, a teacher at an East London fee-charging Islamic school was sentenced to jail on terror charges, with investigators reporting that the 25-year-old attempted to recruit an “army” of children to launch multiple terror attacks across the capital.
Speaking to Sputnik News, David Kurten, the UK Independence Party’s (UKIP) education spokesperson and a member of the London Assembly, stressed that many Islamic schools, some of which have ties to and receive funding from radical groups and mosques, are teaching material “incompatible with British society”, creating a generation of radicalized Muslims instilled with hatred of the West.
“[They are taught that] Britain is at war with Islam and needs to be converted into ‘Dar al Islam’ or a ‘land of submission’, where there is no more resistance to radical Islam and Sharia law,” the UKIP official said.
Moreover, Mr. Kurten insisted such schools pose a “grave threat to the security and social cohesion of the United Kingdom.”
Sputnik spoke to Imam Mansoor Ahmad Clarke, the Ahmaddiya Muslim community’s London missionary, to gain a better understanding of how Islamic schools, especially those with ties to radical groups, are funded in the UK.
Moreover, he underscored the importance of schools and Islamic networks being self-funded, like the Ahmaddiya community, to ensure they don’t come under undue pressure from external groups, including those with ties to extremists.
Under the Radar
Although Mr. Kurten applauded the government’s tougher stance against institutions teaching students for over 18 hours per week, he warned that up to 2,000 “informal madrassas” are currently classified alongside extracurricular activities, such as sports clubs, and therefore receive less scrutiny.
“Children attend these facilities for many hours, but if the time spent there is less than 18 hours per week they do not count as unregistered schools and are classified in the same way as extra-curricular activities like sports clubs.”
However, the UKIP official advised against “draconian regulation” for all informal extra-curricular activities, insisting only madrassas with ties to radical Islamic sects and groups, such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir and Tablighi Jamaat, should be investigated and potentially shuttered under existing powers derived from the Terrorism Act and Public Order Act.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.