Police need to tackle ‘institutional Islamophobia’

The Police Service risked further alienating young British Muslims unless more was done to tackle “institutional Islamophobia” in its ranks say Islamic groups spokespersons. The comments came after Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, called for an independent judicial inquiry into the radicalisation of young Muslims in the wake of the July 7 London bombings.

Massoud Shadjareh, chair of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: “It has been clear for a very long time that there is an institutional Islamophobia in the implementation of stop and search. We need to get rid of a culture that exists – unfortunately it exists in our society as a whole, but it is much more damaging when mixed with the powers the police have.”

Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, added, “Almost every Muslim family seems to know of someone, somewhere in the UK who has been stopped and searched for no reason other than the way they look or dress.”

Asian Image, 10 August 2006

Meanwhile, in a letter to the Times, a fellow copper takes issue with Tarique Ghaffur: “All police officers who have the task of policing the streets will be unimpressed that a senior officer is supplying ammunition to disaffected individuals, who will moan about police actions. It is hard enough to do your job without being undermined by your own senior management. We should try and keep Muslim communities on board, but we cannot change the profile of the current terrorist threat and adopt different ‘softly softly’ tactics. We would appear as a service unable to do our job because of being scared of offending Muslim communities. The bottom line is that the terrorist threat is from the Muslim world.”

Times, 10 August 2006