Ministers to tell Imams to preach in English at mosques


Ministers will call for Imams to preach in English at mosques under a new strategy to tackle extremism in Britain.

The rule will be suggested by the counter-terrorism task force, amid Government concerns that preaching in foreign languages builds up divisions between Muslims and British society.

Another aspect of the strategy could also include tougher licencing rules for Imams travelling into the UK from other countries, reports the Sunday Telegraph.

Ministers will call for Imams to preach in English at mosques under a new strategy to tackle extremism in Britain (file photo)

Ministers will call for Imams to preach in English at mosques under a new strategy to tackle extremism in Britain (file photo)

At the moment preachers must be able to speak English before they are granted a visa. 

However, Imams already in Britain will not have to face the stricter licensing regulations because it could be seen as encroaching on their religious freedom.

Ministers believe that the new language rule could help fight the battle against Islamic extremism.

A source told the Telegraph: ‘If Imams are speaking in another language it makes it far harder to know if radicalisation is taking place.’

Between 1998 and 2015, 269 Britons were convicted of Islamist terrorism offences or killed as suicide bomber. 

In a report published by think-tank the Henry Jackson society, both Birmingham and London were said to have produced the most terrorists.

Birmingham in particular, which has a large Asian-Muslim population, was described as ‘major terrorism hotspot.’ 

Women’s involvement in Islamist terrorism in the UK has also trebled in the same period from 4 per cent to 11 per cent 

The call Imams to speak English, comes amid Government concerns that preaching in foreign languages builds up divisions between Muslims and British society

The call Imams to speak English, comes amid Government concerns that preaching in foreign languages builds up divisions between Muslims and British society

It was found that only 10 per cent of terror attacks were carried out by ‘lone wolves’ unconnected to wider networks.

Speaking last year, former Prime Minister David Cameron warned that not speaking English adequately could make Muslims ‘more susceptible’ to ISIS recruitment.

He faced a backlash from Muslim groups and former Cabinet minister Baroness Warsi for linking the issue of English language skills to extremism.

He said: ‘I think it’s quite right to say to people who come to our country that there are many rights that you have here – it’s a fantastic country to live in – but there are also obligations that we should put on people who come to our country, and chief amongst them should be obligations to learn English because then you can integrate, you can take advantage of the opportunities here and you can help us to build the strong country that we want.’ 

A Government spokesman has denied the claims that Imams could be forced to increase their English language skills.

He told the Telegraph: ‘There are no plans to license Imams or require Imams to have a minimum level of English language proficiency beyond visa requirements already in place.’



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