British Muslim girls and extremism: what I learned on my journey across the UK

…. The experience of the roadshow has reaffirmed that the factors that lead to extremism are numerous, complex and multilayered. Focusing on the academic achievements of A-grade schoolgirls who join Isis fails to look at the wider picture. Religious illiteracy, exposure to extremist influences and the lack of strong credible religious leadership all play a part.

But so does a limited life experience and a search for a sense of belonging. Weak familial relationships, where the emotional, language and cultural gap between parent and child presents a vulnerability, are often exploited by extremists.

Our campaign, I hope, will inspire women to take the lead. “I will be #makingastand because I want to make this world a safer place for my children to grow up,” one woman promised. Empower women to counter extremism and it is they who will take on this battle. But this is not a “community” challenge. We need to help as a country; we need to support these women.

[TOP RATED COMMENT 151 votes] There was an article in the Mail showing one of the girls father at an extreme Islamist rally.

After they left he was on tv saying how they didn’t raise their daughter like that.

It is the parents fault.

[2ND 135] Wouldn’t these girls be better off wearing make up, texting boys, drinking the odd pint then going overseas to be treated like dirt and as sex slaves by some illiterate yobs? I think muslim parents who worry too much about their daughters becoming ‘westernised’ aren’t realising that there are worse dangers out there.

[3RD 132] When children ask searching questions about extremism and religion, parents often close down the debate because they can’t answer theological questions. The lack of religious knowledge among families was recognised as a weakness.

So people bring their kids up to be Islamic but then fail to answer questions about it? This is the problem that no one dares to mention and it’s a massive elephant in the room. Bringing up kids to be religious is wrong.

It’s wrong because they don’t have the means of judging these ancient myths as being what they are. It’s wrong because your first metaphysical underpinning is like your first language – it becomes the minds default mode and in the case of religion they refer back to oit constantly, if it doesn’t measure up to early adopted memes about Islam (or whatever) it gets rejected.

So these girls getting “radicalised” is the parents fault in more ways than one. Or rather not their fault because they were brought up like this too. But here we have a potentially dangerous creed that the parents don’t care so much about and so they leave a bunch of mullahs at the mosque to finish the job.

People should have British values and it’s clear from the census that we are a secular nation therefore we shouldn’t have religious schools and parents should bring up their children to be free of dogma that was laid down 1400 years ago and doesn’t really say much these days.

How we get there from here is anyone’s guess but having highly religious children of all creeds and denominations makes me queasy. Poor little things – condemmed to believe one thing until the decide to risk apostasy. We can do better than this!

[4TH 117] I remember when The Guardian was a paper that promoted secularism and rational thought. It turns out now it’s the media arm of a seventh century religion that is wholly incompatible with its previous core ethos of liberal, secular democracy.

[5TH 109] But it is a ‘community’ challenge. Perhaps the practice of employing imams from abroad should be stopped? [Guardian Cif] Read more

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