British minister infuriates Muslims

Home secretary urges Muslim parents to watch their kids for signs of extremism.

September 20, 2006 14:27
1 minute read.
British minister infuriates Muslims

john reid 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

Britain's top law-and-order official warned Muslim parents on Wednesday to watch their children closely for signs of extremism. Home Secretary John Reid told an audience of Muslims in London that they must do their part in a "battle of values," the Home Office said.

  • Aug. 15 feature: British Muslims blame extremism on Tony Blair's foreign policy Reid's words infuriated an angry listener, who began to yell back at the minister during his speech and had to be escorted out of the room. "There is no nice way of saying this," Reid said, according to extracts from his speech released in advance. "These fanatics are looking to groom and brainwash children, including your children, for suicide bombing, to kill themselves in order to murder others. "Look for the telltale signs now and talk to them before their hatred grows and you risk losing them forever. "In protecting our families we are protecting our community." "Victory in this ideological battle - this battle of values - is the only victory that will secure true peace," Reid added. Relations between the government and many British Muslims have been strained in recent years by the unpopular invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the July 7, 2005 London transit bombings. The London attacks, which killed 52 commuters and four British-bred bombers, heightened concerns about radicalization within Britain's 1.6 million-strong Muslim community. Many Muslims feel they are unfairly targeted for suspicion and are bearing the brunt of the government's tough new anti-terror measures. Several high-profile anti-terrorist operations have heightened the strain, particularly a June raid on a house in east London in which a man was shot. He and his brother were later released without charge. Seventeen British Muslims arrested last month have been charged in connection with an alleged plot to blow up trans-Atlantic jetliners in mid-air.

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