PLACES of worship will be issued with guidelines as part of the government’s new anti-terrorism strategy which will see security boosted at major airports and railway stations across the UK.
As part of a wide-ranging review of security announced by Prime Minister Gordon Brown yesterday, the UK’s anti-terror budget will go up from £2.5 billion this year to £3.5 billion by the year 2011, with the number of staff in the security services going up to more than 4,000.
The guidelines, which will also be sent to theatres, cinemas, restaurants, hotels and sporting venues, will advise these venues to remain vigilant and train staff to carry out searches and practise evacuation drills. Local authorities will recruit ‘counter-terrorism advisers’ to implement the new policy.
Meanwhile, interfaith dialogue will be encouraged in a bid to curb Islamic extremism. Announcing the new measures in Parliament, the Prime Minister also unveiled plans to create a Business in the Community Muslim mentoring programme, and a Muslim advisory group which will look into granting women’s access to mosques. Announcing the new policies, the Prime Minister said more dialogue between faiths was an important way of trying to cut down on extremism.
He said: “It is by seeking to build on shared interests and shared values that we will isolate extremists and foster understanding across faiths.
“Following the recent remarkable letter by 138 Muslim scholars – from a diversity of traditions within Islam – which paid tribute to the common roots of Islam, Christianity and Judaism and called for deeper dialogue, we stand ready to support in Britain new facilities for multi-faith scholarship, research and dialogue.”
The government Green Paper also calls for interfaith groups in every constituency and suggests a European Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies in the UK.