MUSLIM leaders in Crawley have spoken out against the Government's decision to join the war against Isis in Iraq.
On Friday, 524 MPs voted in favour of British planes carrying out air strikes on the jihadist group, with just 43 voting against.
Crawley MP Henry Smith, who has recently worked with Home Secretary Theresa May to introduce new programmes to tackle extremism in our town, was one of those who voted in favour of Britain joining the war.
He said: "It's a very difficult decision in Parliament whenever you are being asked to authorise military action. It's not one to be taken lightly.
"I thought it was the right thing to do because the threat Isil [Isis] pose to the stability of the Middle East and the security of this country is severe.
"I don't use the word 'evil' that often but they are executing Muslims and non-Muslims alike in Syria and Iraq and we need to play our part as a responsible global power, along with other Arab nations, to combat Isil."
However, Arif Syed, chairman of Crawley Mosque, thinks Britain should have stayed out of the war.
He said: "I am disappointed and surprised. It's nothing to do with us. Why are they getting involved? What is the reason for bringing this forward?
"America are doing their job. America is enough. America is a superpower; they can take the world on. So why are we sticking our noses in it? It's overkill."
Ahsan Ahmedi, regional president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association (AMA), also feels that Britain should not be trying to solve the "problem" of Isis.
The AMA has a mosque in Langley Green, and works to promote peace while integrating Muslims with other members of the local community. Mr Ahmedi said: "Western foreign policy has caused the likes of these groups to be created."
He believes that Iran should "play a major role" in tackling Isis, adding that the terror group has "nothing to do with Islam or any religion", describing its acts as "barbarity".
"Islam is very clear and I can sit down with anyone to prove Islam is a peaceful religion," he said.
Mr Syed did not want to comment on what he thought of Isis as he did not want to draw attention to their cause.
He said: "The vast majority of Muslims in this country are law abiding. The more we talk about Isis and put them on a platform the more they achieve their objectives. They are totally insignificant."
Mr Syed believes most worshippers at Crawley Mosque, in Broadfield, feel the same as he does.
He said: "The vast majority are too busy making a living to take any notice of Isis. They are far too busy looking after their families.
"We concentrate on raising vast sums of money for people affected by these atrocities. People caught in the middle of a crisis in that part of the world.
"That's what we need to focus on; we don't focus on Isis."
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