UK continues demonization of Muslims


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

Police chief urges Muslim inquiry

The UK's highest-ranking Asian police officer has called for an independent 
judicial inquiry into radicalisation of young Muslims after the 7 July bombs.

Met Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said Islamophobia made some 
Muslims vulnerable to extremism.

Tighter anti-terror laws had indirectly discriminated against Muslims, he told 
the National Black Police Association.

The Home Office said the legislation was not discriminatory and partnership with
the Muslim community was vital.

'Hostile views'

Mr Ghaffur told the association's conference in Manchester a "critical 
crossroad" had been reached in relations with the Islamic community, adding that
the aim had to be to prevent another terrorist attack.

"Linked intrinsically to all of this is the growing challenge of anger amongst 
young Muslims," he said.

"Young people have developed a strong sense of connection with Islam. The 
cumulative effect of Islamophobia, both internationally and nationally, linked 
to social exclusion, has created a generation of angry young people who are 
vulnerable to exploitation."

He said the "simplistic" anti-western messages of extremist organisations, 
advocating closed and hostile views of other religions, could be attractive to 
vulnerable young people.

He said: "We must think long and hard about the causal factors of anger and 
resentment. In particular, we need to adopt an evidence-based approach to 
building solutions.

"I therefore support those who are calling for an independent judicial review of
the issue of young Muslims and extremism and the wider community dimension."

'Inward looking'

Mr Ghaffur said police had to be careful about the consequences for community 
relations when tackling terrorism.

"There is a very real danger that the counter-terrorism label is also being used
by other law-enforcement agencies to the effect that there is a real risk of 
criminalising minority communities," he said.

"The impact of this will be that, just at the time we need the confidence and 
trust of these communities, they may retreat inside themselves."

He said the use of stop-and-search powers and so-called passenger profiling in 
the fight against terrorism tended to be based on physical appearance rather 
than actual intelligence.

Mr Ghaffur called for leadership from the Muslim community, elements of which 
"remain inward looking".

Mr Ghaffur also said in his keynote speech that the police were "falling short" 
of their targets for minority representation in the service.

National Black Police Association president Keith Jarrett said Muslims were 
treated like "bogeymen", and urged delegates to use counter-terrorism 
legislation "with intelligence".

'Institutional Islamophobia'

Islamic community leaders echoed Mr Ghaffur's comments about Islamophobia and 
the need for an inquiry.

Islamic Human Rights Commission chairman Massoud Shadjareh said: "It has been 
clear for a very long time that there is an institutional Islamophobia in the 
implementation of stop-and-search.

"It has almost become a licence for people to implement Islamophobic and racist 

Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Muhammad Abdul Bari, backing the 
call for a public inquiry, said: "We as a society need to better understand what
factors led to the four 7/7 bombers becoming radicalised and how many others may
have come under the influence of similar extremist ideas."

A Home Office spokesman said: "The powers within counter-terror legislation are 
not aimed at a particular race, religion, or any other group.

"They are aimed at terrorists, whatever background or section of society they 
may come from.

"We are committed to improving and developing a close partnership with the 
Muslim community with the shared aim of combating terrorism."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/08/07 14:51:50 GMT


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