Muslim groups draft rulebook for mosques to drive out extremists

Posted on October 30, 2007

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Patrick Wintour, political editor
Tuesday October 30, 2007
The Guardian

The first attempt by British Muslims to set out the core standards and constitutions for Britain’s 1,350-plus mosques and Islamic centres has been drawn up by a new body representing four leading groups.

The move was welcomed by Hazel Blears, the communities secretary. Ministers have often complained that there is a lack of oversight of mosques, and hope the proposals for standardised rules on governance and leadership could help to drive out extremism.

The government has spoken of the need to improve the language and teaching skills of imams, but has been reluctant to intervene directly for fear of being seen to interfere in an independent faith body. The proposals have been drawn up by the year-old Mosques and Imams National Advisory Body (MINAB), set up by four leading Muslim groups in Britain – the Al-Khoei Foundation, the British Muslim Forum, the Muslim Association of Britain and the Muslim Council of Britain.

The draft constitution for the regulatory body, released yesterday after months of internal consultation, proposes increasing the skills and competencies of imams, developing mosques as centres of community cohesion, citizenship and dialogue, and strengthening accountability and governance.

It also proposes improving access of women and young people to mosques. The new body, according to its constitution, would also provide advice on the suitability of imams and scholars coming from abroad. [More]

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