A Muslim woman has been praised for her “bravery” after speaking out against radicalisation in her community and blaming Saudi-funded clerics of preaching extremist views.
Appearing on BBC Question Time on Thursday night, the British Muslim woman said she was “very proud of her heritage” but added that there was an “elephant in the room” in regards to extremism that exists in the community.
Her comments come three days after Salman Abedi detonated a bomb in the foyer of Manchester Arena as fans left an Ariana Grande concert, killing 22 people and injuring dozens more.
The audience member told the panel in Salford: “I myself am a Muslim. I am a British Muslim and I am very proud of my heritage but I am also a realist and there is an elephant in the room here and, unfortunately, it is very unfortunate, there is an issue in regards to radicalisation and extremism that does exist within our community.
“That is something that we have to accept and we have to deal with.”
The woman referenced a comment made by an audience member earlier in the programme who said that he had been given an anti-Western leaflet at Didsbury Mosque in Manchester.
The mosque was attended by Abedi and members of his family.
The woman added: “We do have an issue within our mosques, within our religious institutions.
“We have children being taught the Wahhabi interpretation of the Quran, we have Saudi-trained clerics coming in and speaking to children as young as seven.”
The woman added: “We have to do something about it.”
Closing down Saudi-financed mosques is one of the actions that the woman advocated.
She said that terrorism was being “imported right under our noses”.
Another audience member disagreed, saying that there were no longer any Saudi-funded mosques in the UK.
She was widely praised for her comments.
Panelist Nazir Afzal, former chief crown prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, said he agreed with the woman’s comments “100%”.
He said that he does not go to any meetings that are exclusively for men, adding “you have to change their behaviours” and “confront them” when faced with extremism.