Britain reaches out to local Muslims

Britain began reaching out to its Muslim communities, stating tat it will take years to face down anger sparked by July terrorist attacks in London.

A top law enforcement official also sought to ease fears that anti-terror police will target Muslims for searches.

Britons were stunned to learn that three of the suicide attackers suspected of killing 52 victims in the July 7 attacks were young Pakistani Britons; the third moved from Jamaica as a child. Most of the men alleged to have carried out failed attacks two weeks later, taking no lives, were immigrants from East Africa.

Londoners' commutes inched a step closer to normal with the reopening Tuesday of two subway lines partially shut since the deadly bombings, the District line, and the Hammersmith and City line. Officials say they hope to reopen closed stretches of the bombed Piccadilly line later this week but do not know when full service will resume on the Circle line.

Police presence on the underground system remained heavy.

The apparent willingness of men born and raised in Britain to turn to militancy has prompted anguished soul-searching in a nation proud of its diversity and tolerance.

After the attacks, Prime Minister Tony Blair appealed to Muslim leaders for their help in combating the "twisted logic" of terrorism. He said later he was considering calling an international conference on how to root out Islamic extremism, particularly in the religious schools known as madrassas, many of them in Pakistan.

Hazel Blears, a minister in the Home Office, met community representatives in Oldham, a gritty former mill town in northern England that was the scene in 2001 of race riots that began when white youths attacked a South Asian family's home. It was the first of a series of gatherings she plans around the country.

Blears said the government and Muslim communities had to work together to fight the spread of militant ideologies.

"These people who are extremists are a tiny, tiny minority," she said. "We have got to make sure that the mainstream feel strong enough to take them on."

Riaz Ahmed, a former Oldham mayor whose home was fire-bombed during the riots, said moderates were eager to support such an effort, the AP reports.

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