Asian mums meet Home Office and police in bid to tackle ‘hate preachers’

Shiria Khatun and the women's network, meeting at Scotland Yard

Shiria Khatun and the women's network, meeting at Scotland Yard - Credit: Shiria Khatun

An Asian Muslim women’s network has met top Home Office and Met Police officials at Scotland Yard today to help fight terrorism and the radicalisation of their children.

They are campaigning against “hate” clerics they fear are turning their youngsters into extreme Islamists.

The newly-constituted Shanaz Network believes the men in their patriarch communities can’t prevent Asian youth falling under extremist influence without their help.

It is headed by Shiria Khatun, a local councillor at Tower Hamlets in London’s East End which has one of the biggest Muslim communities in the UK where ‘hate’ preachers have addressed mosques in the past.

“We can eradicate extremism in the Asian community if we involve the women,” she insisted.

“Our ideas must be included when the government sets up its task force to counter terrorism.

“It’s important to engage the mothers—they’re the one’s who know best how to avoid youngsters becoming radicalised by these ‘hate’ preachers who turn up in our mosques and madras learning centres.”

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The women have been invited to address peers and MPs at Westminster next month to make the government aware that they want to be taken seriously in tackling extremism in their communities.

“We want to be included in government strategy,” Cllr Shiria added. “They have to know about us.

“We’ve been ignored too long by men representing entire communities—but it’s the women who know what’s happening in their families and they have to speak out.”

The network was originally set up by an Asian woman detective through the Association of Chief Police Officers with Home Office backing. It has now been constituted as a separate organisation, with Cllr Khatun elected its first chair, aimed at getting Asian women “out of hiding” and taking the lead in dealing with extremist influence of hate preachers.