Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

MUSLIMS WANT VISION

  • Comment
Call for better use of existing powers...
Call for better use of existing powers

By Nick Golding

Muslim leaders are calling on local government to be 'visionary' in its use of powers to promote community cohesion.

The alleged transatlantic plane bombing plot has renewed interest in how this autumn's local government white paper will back cohesion - but many senior figures insist councils already have the capability to make a difference.

Tony Blair's decision to bring local government and cohesion together in one department has left councils at the forefront of the drive to ensure Muslims do not feel stigmatised.

Ministers have already signalled their desire to use the white paper to rebuild the institutions of civic society to overcome apathy and disquiet, but many community representatives want it to concentrate on promoting best practice.

Ibrahim Mogra, the chairman of the Muslim Council of Britain's interfaith relations committee, said: 'There are cases where Muslims find difficulty in getting planning permission for a mosque or education establishment and there could be more use of schemes like Leicester's where there's special prayer-time arrangements between traffic wardens and the mosque.

'These might sound petty but they have a major impact. If you get these areas right they build confidence.'

Humera Khan, a founding member of the An-Nisa Muslim women's group, said too many council-led cohesion initiatives were race-based, rather than faith-based, meaning they failed to engage Muslims.

'Our council set up a new Muslim group, the brainchild of a Muslim councillor and a couple of people in the Labour party who wanted to be seen doing something but they were talking to us in a patronising way,' she said. 'Success is about having a vision.'

Other areas where councils could be more sensitive include the speedier issuing of death certificates to enable burials to meet religious requirements and less nudity in sex education, leaders say.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.