At a camp in Kidderminster this weekend, nearly 50 young activists from across the UK will be equipped with the Islamic knowledge required to tackle the extremist narratives of groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda. Minhaj-ul-Quran International UK (MQI UK), an organisation that declared an ideological 'jihad' against ISIS earlier this year, have taken the bold step of gathering young British people at the Pioneer Centre in Shropshire for three days. During that time, participants will be trained to tackle the ideological and theological factors leading to the radicalisation of young Muslims in the West and then terrorism.
Concerned about the rising numbers of young Muslims from the UK and Europe travelling to the Middle East to join terrorist organisations, the organisers have developed a comprehensive programme to address the problem. Through a series of lectures and interactive workshops based on a new educational syllabus designed by renowned Islamic scholar Dr Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, they aim to equip participants with the tools and knowledge needed to effectively challenge radical beliefs and counter ideas that lead young people to consider violence in pursuit of political or ideological aims.
The educational syllabus, titled 'Curriculum for Peace and Countering Terrorism', draws together over 1,000 religious sources from traditional Islamic texts; MQI UK is scheduled to formally launch the syllabus later this month in London. The launch, which Dr Tahir-ul-Qadri will attend, will define the rationale behind the curriculum and serve as the starting point of a grass-roots campaign to develop and equip British imams, teachers and students to counter extremist narratives and deter recruitment by organisations such as ISIS or al-Qaeda.
Shaykh Rehan Raza Al-Azhari, a young British-born Imam at MQI (UK) and a lecturer at the camp, said, "This is an important, landmark event that we regard as a jihad or ideological struggle against groups like ISIS. We aim to rapidly expand our training programme so those at risk of being radicalised are given the correct Islamic teachings to challenge the arguments of the extremists, whether those arguments are made at schools, colleges or universities or on social media".