Muslim leader says education key to stopping further atrocities

CHAIRMAN: Chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques Mr Abdul Hamid Qureshi (S)
CHAIRMAN: Chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques Mr Abdul Hamid Qureshi (S)

A senior Muslim figure in East Lancashire says the world could learn from Burnley in the light of the deadly Paris attacks.

Burnley man Mr Abdul Hamid Qureshi, chairman of the East Lancashire Council of Mosques, condemned the attacks on a magazine and a supermarket in the French capital and said communities must unite against extremism.

The respected leader was instrumental in setting up the Building Bridges in Burnley group and other community initiatives following the Burnley disturbances in 2001.

He said: “The whole community in East Lancashire condemns these attacks which are repulsive, abhorrent and completely un-Islamic.

“There were some well-known tensions in Burnley some years ago, but after a lot of hard work from community and faith groups I feel the town is in a lot healthier position now.

“While I feel that a lot of the problems have an international and national basis, there is still a lot to be learned at the local level.

“We have to provide good education and jobs, which can help young people falling into the trap of radicalisation.

“The global situation has an impact, but I feel on a local level that parents, teachers and scholars have a big role to play.”

Mr Qureshi said there was a lot of resentment among people in some Muslim countries over mistreatment by their rulers, but he believes that education and better jobs would create “an ability to understand.”

He added: “When people are frustrated they are more prone to radical actions but I have not come across one person from our community in East Lancashire who has condoned these attacks (in Paris).

“There is huge turmoil around the world but I believe that if our faiths and communities can work together at home then that is the first step.”