Muslim leaders in Dundee have suggested that the introduction of a US-style pledge of allegiance in UK schools may help to tackle the scourge of extremism.
Muhammed Ahmad, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Dundee, insisted there is no place for extremism in society.
His comments came after Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge this week to tackle radicalisation.
Welcoming Mr Cameron’s renewed focus on tackling the root causes of extremism, Mr Ahmad said the issue needs to be addressed “from the home and community centres”.
But he insisted wider measures are also needed to ensure that extremist views are not given the oxygen of publicity.
Those could include, he suggested, a pledge of loyalty for all children in schools – something supported by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community throughout the UK.
“Our Caliph, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, has repeatedly spoken of the need for all to uphold the principles of peace and his community has led an international peace campaign to promote values of loyalty, freedom and peace,” he said.
“In promoting the concept of loyalty the government can go further and introduce a pledge of loyalty to one’s country for all children in schools. This promotes identity, integration and inspires our youth to serve their country with pride.”
Mr Ahmad was speaking after Mr Cameron set out a five-year strategy to tackle Isis-inspired radicalisation, although Mr Ahmad dismissed any link between Islam and extremism.
“It is unfortunately true that certain Muslims carry out terrorist acts in the name of Islam, and for such horrific acts those Muslims must be accountable, not the religion of Islam,” he added.
“Mr Cameron’s speech contained a number of positive ideas, such as giving parents the right to cancel children’s passports, the need for the media to have greater responsibility in the views it promotes and the need to monitor preachers of hate online and in international broadcasts all these are critical.”