WWMD: What Would Muhammad Do?

The British have done it again. First, they successfully banned smoking in public places (a wonderful idea, I might add) and now – they are leading the pack in innovative methodologies to help curb radical Islamic fascism. In what most ultra-liberals (in America) would call a violation of church and state, the British government is pouring financial support into a pilot program aimed at educating young Muslims to steer clear of radicalism. In sum, the program, which is being piloted in Bradford, is based on curriculum written by a local teacher. It comes during a time in which many Muslims are angered by Iraq and other associated issues. The New York Times provides a concise overview of the program:

“…a government-financed effort to teach basic citizenship issues in a special curriculum intended to reach students who might be vulnerable to Islamic extremism.”

Britain’s Labor government has high hopes for the plan.

“In the long haul, the British government hopes that such civics classes, which use the Koran to answer questions about daily life, will replace the often tedious and sometimes hard-core religious lessons taught in many mosques across the land. Often, these lessons emphasize rote learning of the Koran and are taught by imams who were born in Pakistan and speak little English and have little contact with British society.”

Britain’s new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, spoke at his first press conference and alluded to the fact that the English government would be continuing its counter-terrorism work in an effort to demonstrate its inherent dislike for violence, while showcasing the value the nation holds for each individual life – a tenant far from the minds and hearts of radical Islamic extremists.

Clearly, this new program is an effort to work toward both of these values, while enamoring young Muslims before they are brainwashed and mis-educated into a world of hate and disharmony.

And, since 100,000 schoolchildren are currently estimated to be enrolled in after-school religious programs at local Mosques, this is the perfect stomping ground to tackle the issue at hand.

Not everyone is jumping for joy; many Muslims dislike the plan, citing alienation and disenchantment.

“One of our primary concerns is: why the Muslim community again?” Mrs. Ali said. “Extremism is a problem in all communities, especially among the British National Party,” she said, referring to a right-wing party that has articulated white supremacist views. “The issue of terror and extremism needs to be addressed across the board rather than saying: ‘Here, Muslims, go into your corner and have your curriculum.’ ”

What Mrs. Ali clearly ignores is the intricate and massive movement of Islamic fundamentalism that has developed across the globe. Britain has endured its own internal terrorism-related issues; this program is a method by which to educate and engage youth before such evils take hold.

And yes, extremism is a problem across the board, but the masses of Islamic fundamentalists are more plentiful than any other fundamentalist organization. By some estimates there are hundreds of millions of jihadists (those who support the anti-American/anti-Judeo-Christian/anti-Individualistic goals these terrorists tout).

In the end, despite resistance, this is an innovative method of reaching out and one worth studying further.