To keep young people away from being radicalized,
“We need to understand them, value them, appreciate them & engage them in positive activities”, says CBE, OBE, and MBE Dr. Hari Shukla, Ambassador of peace in Newcastle.
Interview by Nabeela Ali, Bureau Chief, Newcastle upon Tyne
Dr. Hari Shukla, who has been working with the Black Minority Ethnic community for last 43 years, Vice chairman of Newcastle of Council of Faith, was awarded as an ambassador of peace for encouraging communities and individuals in Newcastle to get to know each other in a better way, and he also has a great contribution to safeguard vulnerable people and groups to provide them in time support with personal touch. He said that:
“I appreciate the kind of work Anti radicalization Mentoring and Awareness Network (AMAN) is doing for young children in Newcastle.
He said it’s great to express that “One of AMAN’s main objectives is to create awareness among children and to draw attention into those factors that may lead a young person to think or act violently.
AMAN also has an essential function in recognising, acknowledging and valuing the role of young people to keep our community more peaceful and safe through creating awareness among school children about anti-radicalization and extremism through different seminars and debating competitions “
Dr. Shukla said “Working with the Muslims for more than 40 years I didn’t find anyone who appreciated the terrorism and whatever the people are saying about the Muslims is not true.”
He said he himself as a community leader was very mindful about Muslims, and whatever is happening in the world that shouldn’t be brought here into UK to allege our own people.
He asserted that “Muslims believe they are part and parcel of this country and they have nothing to do with that group who is spreading terrorism.”
He also added that, “In a multicultural society we need peace and harmony to promote community resilience, since most Muslims don’t believe terrorism as a part of Islam and they also don’t support them.”
Mr. Shukla said “We must focus the young people that there is a serious need to do something to keep them away from being drawn into radicalization.”
Dr. Shukla said “If young people won’t get properly understood, get under-valued for their work, and have a lack of appreciation and love from their family, friends and school teacher there is great chance to get them radicalized more easily as compare to those who are engaged in group activities and they were told their role is important wherever they were.”
He also added that “to meet this challenge, we need to inculcate the spirit of citizenship into our young people, also promote sense of belonging. We need to tell our young people that they are the future of the UK and they are very fortunate to have British citizenship. Their first responsibility is for this country, if they would actually appreciate what is to be a British citizen to them, then they would develop respect for each other and for their country.”
Dr .Shukla also pointed out that “the Medias very influential and can be used to create awareness to create peace and harmony in the country, rather to publish sensational news which ultimately doesn’t play a positive role for BME community and may promote Islamophobia.”
He emphasized: “It’s not only the duty of Muslims only to stand against extremism but it is the duty for all communities leaders to work together to combat the threat of terrorism.”
He also added: “The religious groups and inter-faith organizations need to be engaged through broad based dialogues and partnership to tackle this menace.”
However, he supposed that education could play an essential role in better understanding of different religions and cultures.
On one hand, it could help to sway the youth away from being radicalized and on the other hand it could dispel the common misconceptions about a nexus between terrorism and Islam. All the communities living in the UK must be made aware of the fact that there is no room for terrorism in Islam.