Muslims set up coalition to fight extremism

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Forum members hope to commission research into why people are attracted to extremist ideologies and "to speak up for democratic values, and the principles of tolerance, justice and citizenship while maintaining our identity as British Muslims".

The forum said: "We are aware that some from the Muslim community may be uneasy about the creation of a new body, arguing that Islam is not to blame for extremism and that Muslims as a whole cannot be held responsible for acts of terror committed in the name of their religion.

"We acknowledge this may be true, but we emphasise that Muslims must accept that there are extremists and terrorists who justify themselves by reference to Islam and this places a particular responsibility on Muslim citizens to expose these false claims and to refute such false justifications for acts that are clearly against Islam."

Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, attacked Mr Blair for suggesting Muslims were not doing enough to combat extremism. He said: "Blaming a community, especially those who have been working for the last five years to bringing sanity in the community, bringing peace and harmony in the community. This blaming is not helpful to us."