We must get children "off the streets and back into school" says Maajid Nawaz

9 August 2020, 14:55

By Seán Hickey

If children aren't allowed return to school in September, Maajid Nawaz fears that we face an astronomical rise in gang violence and extremism.

The Prime Minister said that the UK has a "moral duty" to get schools open by September so students may get back into education.

Maajid Nawaz has highlighted in the past how lockdown had a disproportionate effect on the education of disadvantaged children and he welcomed the PM's rallying cry for the same reason.

He warned listeners who don't believe it is safe to return to school that their children, at the age of 14 "are old enough to get into very, very serious trouble with street gangs, but not just street gangs, with extremist recruitment."

He sympathised with disadvantaged parents who are "juggling the demands of your work while trying to look after these teenage boys, so they find friendships on the street corners.

"All it takes for an older man to start handing out gifts," and then the descent into gang violence can occur. Maajid reminded listeners of the person who was stabbed to death on Oxford Street on Saturday.

Maajid feared a rise in gang crime if teenagers cannot return to school
Maajid feared a rise in gang crime if teenagers cannot return to school. Picture: PA

"We've gotta get everyone off the streets and back into school," Maajid said. He told listeners that he agrees with Boris Johnson in getting children back to school, purely to save teens from illegal activity.

"Whatever you think the dangers of coronavirus are, there are greater dangers lurking for the mental and emotional health of your children," he warned.

Maajid accepted that these children have already lost so much during lockdown, noting "they will never catch up to the children in private schools."

"The concerns of our children need to be placed before our own concerns."