Scottish imams to help police keep young Muslims away from gangs

February 15th, 2009 - 5:15 pm ICT by ANI  

Edinburgh, Feb.15 (ANI): Several Islamic clerics will join police and youth workers in an innovative new scheme to wean young Muslims away from trouble.
According to The Scotsman, the imams, most of them 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.
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.”
Two teenagers have died in Pollokshields in the past decade. First, 15-year-old Imran Khan lost his life after being stabbed in 1998 in a gang fight. Then, in 2004, another 15-year-old, Kriss Donald, died after being kidnapped and tortured by a notorious Asian gang.
Donald’’s killers were the first men in Scotland sentenced for a racially motivated murder.
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. (ANI)

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