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  1. National

Ex-chief rabbi 'understands Muslim leaders' frustrations'

Former chief rabbi Lord Sacks says he understands the frustrations of Muslim leaders who feel they are being held responsible for dealing with the radicalisation of young people.

Lord Sacks said he believed the letter was well-intentioned but understood frustrations. Credit: PA Wire

Lord Sacks' comments come amid a row over a Government letter asking Islamic leaders to do more to tackle extremism.

"The problem is ... that letter suggested that the Muslim community within Britain can contain its own radicals," he told the BBC.

"The truth is that Islamism, like all modern global political movements, is actually a global phenomenon - transmitted by the internet, transmitted by social media - and so I would not be surprised if the Muslim community didn't say 'You're asking of us something that is not under our control'.

"I am absolutely sure that the Government was incredibly well-intentioned - Lord Ahmad and Eric Pickles are terrific people - but I can kind of see that Muslim communities said 'Why are you pointing the finger of blame at us?'."

  1. National

Minister: Criticism of letter is 'disappointing'

A minster has hit back at criticism of a letter sent to mosques in England, insisting it had an "explicit message" of togetherness with the Muslim community.

Muslim leaders have questioned the message in Eric Pickles' letter. Credit: Reuters

Harun Khan, from the Muslim Council of Britain, has challenged Communities Secretary Eric Pickles for writing to more than 1,000 leaders asking them to do more to tackle the radicalisation of young people.

Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Lord Ahmad said: "I think his response is disappointing.

"Within the letter there is an explicit paragraph that says British values are Muslim values. You can't be more explicit than that.

"Perhaps he wasn't clear in what the letter said but if you have seen a copy of the letter ... it has been pretty explicit that we want to work together with the Muslim community."

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  1. National

Muslim Council of Britain challenges Eric Pickles letter

An open letter to more than 1,000 Islamic leaders in England, urging them to do more to tackle extremism, has drawn criticism from the Muslim Council of Britain.

The organisation has asked Mr Pickles to "clarify his request" as it questioned whether if, like "members of the far right", he was suggesting that Islam is inherently apart from British society.

We will be writing to Mr Eric Pickles to ask that he clarifies his request to Muslims to 'explain and demonstrate how faith in Islam can be part of British identity'.

Is Mr Pickles seriously suggesting, as do members of the far right, that Muslims and Islam are inherently apart from British society?

– Harun Khan, Muslim Council of Britain

Bradford City celebrates 'fantastic' result

Bradford City are all set for a money spinning FA Cup 4th round tie at Chelsea after thrashing Millwall at Valley Parade last night. It was a feisty encounter from the first whistle and after just 6 minutes Millwall were reduced to 10 men - Lee Beevers dismissed for a foul on James Hanson. And just 2 minutes later Hanson headed Bradford into the lead. Jon Stead scrambled in the second, before Andy Halliday made it 3 nil before half time. Despite the freezing conditions temperatures were running high and following this rash challenge Bradford manager Phil Parkinson was sent to the stands. Just the one goal after the break - Billy Knott firing in, but Bradford had already done enough to ensure a visit to the Premier League leaders.

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Armed robbers target Bradford and Leeds homes

Police are investigating three robberies in Bradford and Leeds that involved guns and knives.

Last Monday four men entered a house in Rockland Crescent, Clayton, and demanded to know where one of the occupants was.

Three of the men were carrying knives, while the other was in possession of what appeared to be a sawn-off shotgun.

The men then searched the premises and are believed to have taken a ladies' Michael Kors watch, before running off towards Woodvale Avenue.

Later that day, a man entered a house in Wooler Avenue in Beeston and made demands for gold jewellery from one of the occupants.

The man, who was believed to be carrying a gun, was followed by four other men who were also carrying weapons, possibly knives.

The men made threats towards the occupants before searching the premises. They are believed to have taken a quantity of jewellery.

Three or four men carrying weapons then entered a house in Broad Lane, Bradford and ordered the occupants to sit down and be quiet.

The men then made demands and threats for jewellery and cash before leaving with a quantity of cash.

The suspects are believed to be white men in their late teens or early twenties. All wore black balaclavas and black gloves.

The descriptions of the males involved in these incidents lead us to believe that they may be linked, so we would appeal to anyone who might have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the above areas around the stated times to get in touch.

A black Mitsubishi L200 vehicle or similar was seen in the area at the time of all three offences and we believe that this was used by the suspects, so I would ask anyone with information about that vehicle to come forward.

Police are focusing high-visibility patrols in these areas of Bradford and Leeds following these incidents, and we would urge anyone with any concerns to speak to our officers.

– Detective Inspector Ryan Bragg, Bradford District CID

Hull MP: Morrisons store closure 'worrying' for city

Hull North MP Diana Johnson said the closure of a Morrisons store in the city is "worrying" and "bad news".

Hull MP: Morrisons store closure 'worrying' for city Credit: Press Association

Given the lack of good full-time jobs in the Hull area, especially in relation to the number of job-seekers chasing them, it's worrying that Morrisons at Northpoint is to close.

The process on what will happen to jobs at the store will now start, but this is clearly bad news for Northpoint and the Hull area.

It shows that in our area the economic recovery remains fragile and is held back by the spending power taken out of our local economy since 2010. We already have a problem with the loss of retail jobs and empty shops in Hull and we've lost major players such as Comet in recent years.

– Hull North MP Diana Johnson

Morrisons confirm two Yorkshire store closures

ITV News can confirm that two Morrisons stores in Yorkshire are set to close.

ITV News can confirm that two Morrisons stores in Yorkshire are set to close. Credit: Press Association

The Bradford based retailed said the stores at Bransholme in Hull and Ravensthorpe would close.

We have looked extremely carefully at whether the stores can be turned around but unfortunately we cannot see a way of making them viable. We are therefore proposing their closure. We are consulting with colleagues and unions to reduce the risk of redundancies and we are looking at ways of redeploying colleagues around our business.

– Morrisons spokesperson
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