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Anti terrorist laws discriminate against Muslims-UK Police

Written by: Staff

London, Aug 8 (UNI) A senior police officer said tougher anti-terrorist laws and tactics have discriminated against Muslims and generated anger, distrust and alienation.

Tarique Ghaffur, a Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner, said anti-terrorism stops and searches and "passenger profiling" - the screening of passengers on flights and other transport - are examples of when Muslims felt unfairly stereotyped. Such practices tended to be based more on physical appearance than on information.

Mr Ghaffur, who heads Scotland Yard's central operations squad, including its specialist firearms team, said, "The events of the last year have undoubtedly revealed some of the limitations of the policing response. As a global concept, counter-terrorism is a relatively new phenomenon and as such is not yet mature.

"It is absolutely right to counter any terrorist threat robustly and I have every confidence in the operational capacity of the police to do this.

"There is still a sense of purity around the police response.

However, the situation around counter-terrorism is not pure. 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.

"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." Mr Ghaffur said the cumulative effect of Islamophobia, at home and abroad, linked to social exclusion, had created a generation of angry young people who were vulnerable to exploitation. "The simplistic anti-western messages of extremist organisations can be attractive to such people," he said.

Mr Ghaffur called for more research into radicalisation and supported "an independent judicial review of the issue of young Muslims and extremism and the wider community dimension".


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