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Cablegate: Engagement with Muslim Communities in the Uk

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R 051210Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4876

C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000268


NOFORN

STATE FOR EUR/PGI, EUR/PPD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/25/2020
TAGS: KPAO PGOV PREL UK
SUBJECT: ENGAGEMENT WITH MUSLIM COMMUNITIES IN THE UK

REF: (A) STATE 127215 (B) STATE 1183

Classified By: LDAVIS

1. (C) Summary: Although people of Muslim faith make up only
3-4 percent of the UK's population, outreach to this key
audience is vital to U.S. foreign policy interests in the UK
and beyond. Embassy London Muslim engagement activities
comprise a counter-radicalization strategic plan, public
diplomacy programming, and Ambassadorial outreach to address
diverse audiences of varied national origin. This is a top
Mission priority. End summary.

Countering Radicalization
--------------------------

2. (C) The Embassy,s counter-radicalization multi-agency
working group, established in 2007 to improve our
understanding of Muslim communities, the radicalization
process, and HMG counter-radicalization efforts, developed a
strategic action plan in 2009. This plan, regularly updated,
outlines counter-radicalization goals and concrete steps the
Embassy will take to encourage Muslim communities to reject
violent ideologies and recruitment by extremists. The plan
is consistent with overall USG plans to counter violent
extremism, but considers the particular context of
radicalization in the UK.

3. (C) The Embassy plan integrates efforts and resources
across sections and agencies to ensure a coherent strategy.
It outlines key objectives necessary to the Administration,s
vision of community engagement to prevent violent extremism.
Programs are shaped to fit particular neighborhood needs and
dynamics, recognizing that the diversity of Muslim
communities precludes a monolithic set of responses. Focus
is on the most at-risk Muslim populations and youths,
targeting engagement and community capacity-building to
counter violent extremism. Mission efforts incorporate a
close working relationship with UK agencies working on the
same set of issues.

4) (C) Our objectives:
A) Empowering Muslim communities to mobilize against
extremism. Although communities frequently reject violent
extremism, they lack the institutional infrastructure to
actively mobilize against radicalizing influences.
B) Empowering Muslim communities to build community
resilience. Civil society and grassroots organizations can
help channel grievances, providing institutions for
community-based solutions and for engaging government and
other communities.
C) Encouraging community cohesion, respect for pluralism, and
integration across ethnic and religious groups. Insular
communities tend to be more vulnerable to radicalization, as
demonstrated by statistical analysis of survey research and
comparative studies of Muslim communities.
D) Increasing Muslim communities, understanding of U.S.
foreign policy in Muslim countries and counter-terrorism
objectives; countering the view that the West is at war with
Islam.
E) Encouraging Muslim communities, positive and effective
relations with the Embassy, fundamental to the success of our
engagement programs.

5)(C) We are currently building a network of Muslim civic
activists to enhance the collective skills of individuals and
groups involved in counter-radicalization and to encourage
collaborative initiatives. The network will include
different kinds of activists * youth workers, civil rights
organizations, business entrepreneurs, interfaith workers,
and former extremists, and others * who share an interest in
counter-radicalization but frequently operate in different
spheres of activity, limiting opportunities to learn from one
another, share expertise and resources, and collaborate.

Public Diplomacy
----------------

6)(C) The Counter-radicalization Strategic Plan complements
and in most cases includes PD programs, outreach, and broad
base of Muslim contacts. We use the full range of PD tools
at our disposal to influence UK Muslim perceptions of the
U.S., to counter violence and ideological extremism, and to
empower credible Muslim voices. Our programs focus on Muslim
youth and women and potential multipliers such as youth
leaders, youth program directors, mosques, and schools.
Through interfaith dialogue, the arts, exchanges, and Muslim
media, we have a broad base of Muslim contacts who view the
Embassy as a reliable and supportive partner. Outreach
beyond London is a priority. Areas of emphasis include
interfaith dialogue the arts, and exchanges and outreach.

7)(C) Interfaith dialogue: Our joint programs with the
Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC) focus on high
school and university level youth with the goal of reducing
the risk of radicalization and promoting understanding among
faiths. Activities have included training and exchanges of
UK youth workers, and small grants to seed projects on
interfaith volunteerism, neighborhood-based relationship
building, new media promotion of interfaith dialogue, and
interfaith dialogue around environmental issues, among
others. We also support the London-based Three Faiths
Forum,s high-school level outreach program, through which
they talk to young people about different faiths and dispel
myths and misconceptions.

8)(C) The arts: We use elements of new media, culture, and
the arts to connect with a younger audience and rising Muslim
artists, using the arts as a platform to demonstrate the rich
diversity of Muslim life in America. The arts are also an
important way to reach potentially hostile audiences.
Programs include film screenings (Islam in America,
DeenTight, New Muslim Cool), support for the annual Ramadan
Festival of arts, and programs with American Muslim writers,
artists, and musicians.

9)(C) Exchanges and outreach: People-to-people interactions
and seeing America first-hand have consistently been an
effective way of dispelling stereotypes and prejudices about
the U.S. Our programs include: the Citizen Dialogues
Program, International Visitors Leadership Program, and
Voluntary Visitor exchanges with Muslim women community
leaders. Our schools outreach program to secondary schools
and universities has included over 20 predominantly Muslim
institutions in nine localities over the past year. These
school visits were in many cases the first by an American
officer. We have built on the First Lady,s hugely
successful 2009 visit to a minority school (reftel B) with an
exchange program in 2010 that will include some of the
students meeting her at the White House. Four UK
businesspeople will attend the President,s Entrepreneurship
Summit in April, 2010.

The Ambassador,s Outreach
-------------------------

10) (C) The Ambassador engages with UK Muslim communities
regularly. Beginning with an iftar in 2009 shortly after his
arrival, he has spoken to Muslim groups in Wales and
Scotland, visited the London Central Mosque, and hosted an
interfaith breakfast at his residence, among other
activities. Having the U.S. Ambassador visit and listen
respectfully to Muslim points of view has an enormous impact
on groups that often feel marginalized and ignored.

Visit London's Classified Website:
http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/Portal:Unit ed_Kingdom

SUSMAN

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