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Britain to Fund Studies of Moderate Islam


Outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced a new initiative for training Muslim clergy and boosting the study of moderate Islam in British colleges and universities.

Mr. Blair announced the government plan Monday at an Islamic conference in London. He said he feared extremists could drown out what he called the "true voice" of Islam.

The nearly $2 million initiative follows a government report that found Islamic studies in Britain focus broadly on conditions in the Middle East, while often failing to reflect the realities of Muslim life in Britain.

Mr. Blair also stressed that his decisions to back U.S.-led military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq had nothing to do with religion.

He said the religious faith of both countries was no more relevant to those decisions than to the decision his government took in the 1990s to support ethnic Albanian Muslims in Serbia's embattled Kosovo province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

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