Kamall: London football team's Brussels mission spreads the anti-terror message

01-Jun-2016 @ 17:15

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

Syed Kamall Syed Kamall

"This is a cross-Channel show of unity - a celebration of the power of sport to change young lives and confound the extremists."

That was the verdict today of Conservative MEP Syed Kamall today after a successful visit to Brussels by a team of young footballers from London.

The MEP for London was speaking as youngsters from the Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF) - a project that uses sport to tackle extremism - lined up in Brussels for a "football for unity" game with players from a similar club in the troubled district of Molenbeek.

Young players from both sides will this afternoon visit the European Parliament to discuss radicalisation with senior European politicians. The footballers are also due to meet the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz.

The day was organised by Dr Kamall in the wake of the Paris and Brussels terror attacks, which saw Molenbeek identified as a breeding ground for Islamist terrorism. As a Muslim he has involved himself closely in a range of initiatives to counter religious extremism and radicalisation.

TUFF was originally founded in Southall and has gained an international reputation for its success in turning girls and boys away from potential radicalisation. Alongside the best of coaching and facilities, the youngsters receive subtle advice on values such as personal discipline, responsibility, fairness and leadership.

Its supporters include President Obama and the Pope, and Dr Kamall has worked to raise its profile among the public and political leaders.

Players were accompanied today by Dr Sheikh Ramzy, the education chair of the Muslim Council of Britain.

Dr Kamall said: "These two initiatives - TUFF FC and Project Foot - are shining examples how sport can bring down barriers, create bonds and put humanity above mistrust.

"By bringing them together we show the enormous power that values of tolerance and understanding can wield. They bridge all sorts of divides - religious, social, national, linguistic...sport and fellowship transcend all of those."

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