Complaints of anti-terror police harassing Muslim communities

Intelligence gathering operations by police in Tayside, aimed at preventing a future terrorist attack, have led to a deterioration in relations with Islamic communities, a leading Muslim organisation has warned.

The Muslim Association of Britain (Mab) said it had received numerous complaints over moves by Special Branch officers to contact university associations, businesses and members of the Islamic community, claiming that members of the public were being subjected to harassment.

It has now written to Tayside Police to lodge a formal complaint over the Special Branch Community Contact Unit (SBCCU), which was established in the wake of last year’s terrorist bombings in London to provide information on potential extremism.

The force has defended the measures, claiming they have led to closer community links and are likely to be taken up by other forces in Scotland.

Osama Saeed, Mab’s Scottish spokesman, said young Muslims had been approached by members of the unit and quizzed about their political views at their homes, workplaces and Islamic society meetings at Dundee and Abertay universities.

Plain-clothed officers had spoken to Muslim students at freshers stalls during the first week of university, asking them questions about their views on the conflict in Lebanon, he said: “Obviously, if people are talking about bombings or killing infidels, they would be reported to police. But it’s not clear what sort of other activities are supposed to be reported. Parents are concerned that their children are coming under the eye of the police.”

The Herald, 20 October 2006

Via Rolled Up Trousers