2015021120150214 (R4)

When an heir to the throne feels moved to step in to a minefield as potentially explosive as Muslim values you know something is amiss. At the weekend Prince Charles, who has been a self-professed admirer of Islam, gave an interview where he expressed alarm at the extent of the radicalisation of young British Muslims and added "particularly in a country like ours where, you know, the values we hold dear. You'd think that the people who have come here, born here, go to school here would imbibe by those values and outlooks." It must be a difficult time to be a Muslim in Britain. The Rotherham child sex abuse scandal; the number of Muslims in jail in England and Wales has hit an all-time with 1 in 5 of those in top security prisons being Muslim; another murderous video apparently fronted by a British Muslim - there are now said to be more British Muslims fighting for ISIS than for the British Army; the Birmingham Trojan Horse inquiry. It's a grim list which will no doubt appal the majority of Muslims as much as it does anyone else. There are plenty of misleading and malicious interpretations of what's happening. But these issues are so profoundly important to the social cohesion of our society that many people, including Muslims, are now asking is there a crisis of moral leadership in Britain's Muslim community? Each of these stories has its own complex and intricate mix of cause and effect, some of which are unique and some overlapping. Where are the powerful leaders, stepping on to the national stage to address these problems and point to solutions? Islam is a diverse faith, but can it really be just a structural problem? Are the leaders there, but finding their voices are being drowned out by an unrelentingly hostile press? Is there something more fundamental about the nature of faith in the public sphere? Or are the majority paying an unfair price for the distortion of their faith by the radicalised few?