Scotland: Imams to join police in fighting gangs

Scotland: Imams to join police in fighting gangs

A NEW weapon will be unveiled this week in the war on teenage gangs: Muslim Imams.

Scotland on Sunday can reveal that several Islamic clerics will join police and youth workers in an innovative new scheme to wean young Muslims away from trouble.

The Imams – most Scottish-born – will take to the streets starting this week, targeting a dozen teenagers believed to be on the edge of the embryonic Asian gang culture on Glasgow's Southside.

Their allies, including workers from Youth Counselling Services Agency (YCSA), a support group for young Asians, reckon the clerics will be able to command more respect from youngsters than other professionals, including the police.

They will launch their programme just days after the first serious youth disorder in Pollokshields, home to Scotland's biggest Muslim community, since last summer. Four Asians – three young men and a youth – were last week charged with assault after an alleged attack on white men when a snowball fight reportedly escalated into serious violence.

Pollokshields, especially its poorer eastern end, has seen a rise in anti-social behaviour over the past decade, but has not yet been gripped by the gang culture that dominates many other inner city areas. Youth workers, however, fear that youth crime, while less serious than elsewhere, is growing much faster.

Adeel Ibrahim, a YCSA worker with frontline experience of dealing with young offenders, said: "We really have to nip this in the bud. There is not a lot of drinking here. So if we have the trouble we have without alcohol, imagine what it will be like if they start drinking."


The Imams about to take part in the scheme, from mosques such as Pollokshields' respected Masjid Noor, have gone through all the usual channels, securing Disclosure Scotland background checks like any other person who wants to work with young people.

Most are Scottish-born and have a clear understanding of the kind of third-generation Pakistani Scots they will be dealing with. They all know they can't afford just to preach to youngsters: they have, they stress, got to find some common language.


Source: Scotsman (English), h/t Jihad Watch

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