RUDGE - MUSLIMS "NOT FROZEN OUT OF TERROR FIGHT"
Birmingham’s Equalities boss Alan Rudge has slammed claims that Muslim councillors are being squeezed out of the city’s efforts to combat terrorism. He says the claim is “ludicrous” and “ego driven”.
Rudge - the Cabinet Member for Equalities and Human Resources - was responding to claims made on The Stirrer recently by Sparkbrook councillor Salma Yaqoob, who’d argued that money allocated by the government under the Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) agenda was being spent in an undemocratic way.
She called for greater transparency in how the cash is spent (see link here).
"Prevention of terrorism relates to the whole of Birmingham, not just the Muslim community" Rudge said angrily.
"That said, my door is open at any time to Muslim councillors and any other councillor.
"In fact I was due to have a meeting with Salma Yaqoob until she cancelled it because of a family issue.
"That's fair enough, but it's a bit rich to accuse me of lack of accountability.
"Preventing terrorism shouldn't be about people's pride, but this debate is ego driven and it's ludicrous."
When pushed on the issue of how the cash is allocated, Rudge was again swift to defend his actions, pointing out that the latest £2.4 million government grant was won in a bidding process.
"We've won the money for eleven different schemes, which is more than any other council" he said.
"The government wouldn't give it to us if they didn't think we would do it well.
"How it's spent comes down to discussions with ministers and the Government Office West Midlands.
"Someone has to lead on this - not everyone can lead - and I got the money, and I decide how it's spent, but if the government don't agree, then there is no money.
"It's quite ludicrous to suggest it could be spent at ward level, because it's not a local thing. It's given for the whole city.
"The people complaining about this are pulling the wool over your eyes. They should be congratulating us for getting the cash, not whining."
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