Government Funds Muslim Thinkers

July 18, 2008

Author: Dominic Casciani

Source: BBC News

The British government is to fund a board of Islamic theologians in an attempt to sideline violent extremists.

The move will see Oxford and Cambridge Universities host a group of scholars who will lead debate on key issues such as women and loyalty to the UK.

The plans have angered some hardline activists who accuse ministers of trying to create state-sponsored Islam.

But Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said it was government's job to support Muslim leaders on controversial issues.

Under the plans, the two universities will bring together about 20 leading thinkers, yet to be named, to debate critical issues affecting Muslims in the UK. The Department for Communities is responsible for the government's strategy to combat violent extremism, known as "Prevent".