A BRADFORD Imam is calling on the city’s Muslim population to help put an end to dangerous driving and drug-related violent crime, and said the community has “failed” in tackling these issues.

Imam Muhammed Asim Hussain said the Muslim community in Bradford has “been sugar-coating these issues for too long”.

He is calling for a joint effort from all areas of the community to put an end to the reckless and illegal driving that plagues Bradford’s roads, and wants to stop more Muslim youths from being dragged into lives of drug dealing and violent crime.

He is holding a lecture at the Al-Hikam Institute in Fairweather Green, where he preaches, entitled ‘Message to the Youth.’

The lecture, which aims to tackle these issues, will take place at 7pm on Saturday, August 18.

Mr Hussain is an Imam with a large social media following of almost 197,000 people on Facebook, and 12,700 followers on Twitter.

The 28-year-old has in the past produced a number of lectures on these issues, including ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ and ‘Thug Life’ urging young men to stop aiming to live ‘gangster lifestyles’ involving fast cars and crime.

Mr Hussain said: “From a youth perspective, as a young person myself, there is a status struggle on the streets of Bradford, especially with young Asians.

“They think they need respect and have noticed if they have a flashy car people look at them and respect them.

“In the age we live in there is a narcissistic mentality, where we all want to be known and recognised, and for a lot of young lads, especially in Bradford, they think they get noticed for having a good car.

“A lot of youngsters are moving towards drugs and alcohol and crime, and as a community we need to really help them and create other opportunities.

“This is not all young people, but we are starting to see a trend of lads moving towards crime and they need to know the consequences, especially with things like gun crime.

“They see it as an easy way to make money. They don’t have much of an education, they don’t go to college and don’t have authority at home, and have turned to the streets and drug dealing.

“We have to show them they have better opportunities and there are better ways to make money, and we have to make sure this message gets across.

“We have to look deeper, this is a failure and it lies with all of us. We as a community are not doing enough. In this case as in many others it comes down to a number of things: Upbringing, family life, school life, and society.

“We – the most influential people in society – need to engage these young people to make Bradford a safer and more comfortable, better place to live.

“There is a lot of good happening in Bradford, it is a phenomenal city, but these pockets are overshadowed by these tragic events.

“I am holding the talk and well over 1,000 youths should be attending, and this message about getting away from crime and driving dangerously will be given, and I hope they will take the message on board and I hope it will be an eye-opener for them.

“We need to sit down and discuss how we can prevent this from happening again. These talks need to go into schools, and schools need to accommodate these speakers like me to talk about dangerous driving and gun and drug crime.

“I don’t feel the message falls on deaf ears, I think it has an effect on them but then in the long term we forget things, but we as leaders need to continue to remind the youth of the dangers.

“We have to talk about this issue bluntly. We have been sugar-coating these issues – dangerous driving, drug crime, gun violence, gangs – for too long.

“We have lost too many lives brushing it under the carpet and not saying what is really going on. The time has come, we have to challenge these issues head on, we cannot afford to lose more lives through high-speed and reckless driving.”

Mr Hussain’s concerns, specifically about the issue of driving standards, were heightened last week following a crash in Toller Lane, in which four men aged 20 to 22 died after the BMW they were travelling in crashed into a tree at high speed while being pursued by an unmarked police car, following a 34-second chase.

Mr Hussain said: “Too many families have been wrecked. When four men are killed in one crash, we cannot afford to press the snooze button on the alarm and go back to sleep. We have to wake up and do something about it, we cannot afford to just go back to sleep and let more people die.”

At the weekend, he spoke at the funerals of Murza Chaudhry, Arbaaz Hussain, Zeeshan Khalid and Tayyab Siddique to give a strong message to the thousands who came to mourn at the ceremony off Scotchman Road.

And he took the chance to hit out at car leasing firms for hiring out high performance vehicles to young drivers.

He said: “Allah did not create you and I to be gangsters. He did not create you and I to be bad boys. He did not create you and I to be thugs. He did not create us to torture our parents and create grief in our families.

“There have been too many cases in the past five years of our young people dying speeding on the streets.

“Our young lads want to look bad.

“They want to hire out death traps, that’s what these cars are – they are death traps. We are losing too many young lives because of these death traps.

“How are hire companies hiring out powerful motors to young people?

“Where are these young people getting that money from?

“The insurance policies do not even cover them.”

As reported yesterday, Bradford Council’s Road Safety Partnership had previously sent out letters to Imams at local mosques in the hope of spreading the road safety message to young people.