A high-profile London meeting that brought together senior Muslim community leaders, imams and police representatives has recommended a national dialogue on radicalism in Britain.
"We called on both Muslims and non-Muslims from all sections of society to come together and engage in a national dialogue on radicalism," Dr Daud Abdullah, Deputy Secretary General of the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), told IslamOnline.net in a phone interview from London on Sunday, July 8.
"We have decided to work together and intensify our efforts," to tackle radicalism and extremism in Britain, he added.
More than 200 Muslim leaders and organizations, including imams and community activists, gathered Saturday, July 7, at the Islamic Cultural Centre next to Regent's Park mosque in London.
The meeting was attended by police representatives, led by Metropolitan Police Commander Simon Foy.
The participants to discussed combined responses to tackling terrorist threats and issued a seven-point declaration.
"We consider all terrorist acts that aim to murder and maim innocent human beings utterly reprehensible and abhorrent. There is no basis whatsoever for such acts in our faith."
The declaration strongly condemned the foiled car bomb attacks in London and the attack at Glasgow airport earlier this month.
"We urge Muslim organizations and institutions to exercise their Islamic duty to correct and dispel misinterpretations of our faith."
The attendees also called on all Britons, Muslim and non-Muslims, to stand united against the threat of terrorism.
"We should not allow terrorists to divide us and polarize one community against another. We urge all our organizations and institutions to establish dialogue and engage with all stakeholders in society."
The statement commended the "measured and responsible" tone of the new government of Gordon Brown in response to the London and Glasgow plots.
"As citizens we will address international issues of concern by promoting political engagement of our people in the democratic processes. We call on our government to work towards a more balanced foreign policy."
The Muslim leaders reaffirmed confidence in Muslim doctors and healthcare professionals serving in Britain's National Health Service.
"We hope that the service they provide to the wider society is not tarnished by the reprehensible actions of a few," said the declaration.
As almost all eight suspects rounded up in the wake of the London and Glasgow plots are foreign doctors working at public hospitals in Britain.
Bilal Abdullah, a 27-year-old Iraqi doctor, was the first to stand trial Saturday in London.
He was remanded in custody on a charge of conspiring to cause explosions in connection with the Glasgow attack.
Abdullah, the MCB deputy leader, said yesterday's meeting focused on how to address the root causes of radicalization among young British Muslims.
"The government should give those vulnerable youths channels to air their views," he believes.
"We must listen to radicals, listen to their concerns, give them a sense of belongingness."
The Muslim community leader said it was high time the government stopped stifling debate and making those vulnerable youths feel as fifth columnists.
"We must engage more with the youths, create platforms of discussions to allow them to openly and frankly speak their minds out and make them feel they are stakeholders in the national interest of this society."
Abdullah said part of the problem with the Blair government was that it did not listen.
He recalled that the doors of hell broke loose after Muslim organizations signed an open letter last year, blaming the Blair's government's foreign policy for giving ammunitions to radicals and terrorists.
"The government and media alike called the letter blackmail and claimed that Muslims wanted to hijack the country's foreign policy," said Abdullah.
"And when individuals came from Afghanistan after fighting there, they were not allowed to speak their mind out," he gave another example.
"We can differ in foreign policy, but the difference is interpreted as disloyalty."
The issue of the foreign policy was also high on the agenda of Saturday's meeting.
"As citizens we will address international issues of concern by promoting political engagement of our people in the democratic processes," said the participants.
"We call on our government to work towards a more balanced foreign policy."