A BID to steer young people away from crime, drugs and gangs is being run in mosques.
The ‘cutting edge’ talks are also a response to a Dewsbury councillor’s claim that some communities are living in fear.
Coun Karam Hussain recently told the Reporter some Asian youths were creating a climate of fear with violent burglaries.
Speaking after a member of his own family was targeted, Coun Hussain said some residents in Ravensthorpe were too frightened to report problems to the police.
Originally aimed at the aftermath of the summer riots, the talks, delivered by youth services officer PC Pete Whitehouse, are a partnership between police, Kirklees Faith Network and Street Chance Dewsbury.
Sajahd Hussain of the Kirklees Faith Network said: “PC Whitehouse does excellent work in schools where he talks to children about drugs, gun and knife crime, anti-social behaviour and gang-culture.
“Many Muslim children know him as a familiar face.
“The talks are doing wonders to get across the anti-gang and anti-drugs message.
“It is also amazing to see how many barriers are being broken down.”
Rizwan Zahoor of the Anwar-E-Medina Mosque in Ravensthorpe, which hosted one of the talks, said: “The children who go through our doors will in a few years time be the young adults of our neighbourhoods.
“It will be an interesting but challenging phase of their lives and these can be confusing times for the young generation.
“It is during these years that some are likely to get involved in drugs, knife crime, anti-social behaviour and gang culture.
“We feel the talks on gang culture and drugs will go a long way to educate our children about the negative impact of getting involved in these activities.”
Zamir Ahmed from the Faizan-E-Medina Mosque in Dewsbury Moor said: “This summer’s horrific riots clearly showed that those involved in the looting were mostly young people working as gangs.
“It seemed they were heavily influenced by their peer groups and did not realise the impact of their actions.”