London, June 11 : An Islamic academic and a key adviser on Islam to the Prince of Wales has said that the Muslims would never play a full role in British society until they improved their education, language and aspirations, and blamed Muslim parents for leaving their children open to the lure of Islamic extremism.
He said this attitude of Muslim parents leaves their children alienated from the mainstream society and exposed to being groomed by radical Islamic groups. The academic also expressed concern at the poor academic achievements of Muslims in Britain, particularly those from Pakistan and Bangladesh. "This is partly because of issues about their access to good state schools, but this is also because they receive poor family support," he said.
Speaking at a conference on bridging the gap between Islam and the West, in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Farhan Nizami, a CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire), accused British Muslims of failing to make sure their children learn to speak English or supporting them in their education.
It's the first time when Dr Nizami, who is also the director of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, has spoken about the failure of Muslims to integrate with British society. The academic institution, whose patron is the Prince of Wales, carries considerable influence and aims to build bridges between Islam and the West.
His comments come just weeks after the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that radical Islam was filling the "moral vacuum" created by the decline of Christian values in Britain.
Dr Nizami said warned that those who feel marginalised were most easily influenced by the rhetoric of extremism, and called on Muslim parents to do more to avert the danger of their children becoming fanatics. "Muslim families have to realise the importance of education for their children and make an effort to push them into achieving more. They need to make them aspire to things higher rather than just being self-employed and looking for small-jobs," The Telegraph quoted Dr Nizami as saying.
Despite the fears over the threat posed by foreign imams such as Abu Hamza and Omar Bakri, Dr Nizami claimed that homegrown Muslims (in UK) could be even more dangerous, as, he added, the four suicide bombers who murdered 52 people in London on 7/7, 2005, were all born in Britain while the four Islamic terrorists jailed for plotting to blow up Bluewater and the Ministry of Sound with half a ton of fertiliser were all raised and schooled here.
He added: "The assumption that foreign imams equal something undesirable is not always true. In fact some of the more radical elements of British society are British-born. This is not an issue that needs to be seen in terms of religion, but in issues of alienation and deprivation."
Education was the key to preventing a new generation of Muslim extremists growing up in Britain, the Islamic academic said and added: "Immigrant communities have to do more to get integrated, particularly on issues of language and education."