Counter-terrorism 'need not scapegoat Muslim communities'

By agency reporter
August 8, 2019

The Muslim Council of Britain has welcomed remarks made by Metropolitan Assistant Police Commissioner Neil Basu in an interview with The Guardian newspaper. Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police chief is reported to have recognised shortcomings in the Prevent strand of the government’s counter-terrorism strategy. He also rejected the assertion that the open practise of Islam by Muslims was at odds with British society, a notion peddled by Islamophobes and others.

Welcoming Mr Basu’s comments, Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “Neil Basu has made an important intervention in calling out the misguided notion that Muslims must be seen only through the lens of security and that their solemn adherence to their faith renders them incapable of being equal participants of British society. Such ideas are peddled by divisive voices and have found their way into policy. We believe the government’s implementation of the Prevent strand of the counter-terrorism strategy has– in many ways – been a manifestation of this tendency. The Prevent strategy has meant Muslims have been targeted in a discriminatory way.”

“Our grassroots consultations on counter-terrorism resoundingly tell us that Muslim communities would like to see a truly effective strategy for tackling terrorism that is transparent, accountable and hold[s] the trust of communities.”

Throughout 2018-19, the Muslim Council of Britain is undertaking a national listening exercise on counter-terrorism and how British Muslims are affected.

In response to Neil Basu's comments on the definition of Islamophobia, Harun Khan added: "We also welcome the change of heart from Mr Basu, recognising that the APPG [All Party parliamentary Group] definition of Islamophobia will not hinder counter-terrorism efforts. This admission adds further weight and credibility to a definition that has already been taken up by the top academics in the field, Muslim communities across the country, numerous local councils and all the main political parties, save the Conservatives. 

"It serves to make plain the absurd campaign to undermine the definition, despite its widespread support. The Government would do good to dismiss any further baseless concerns around this definition of Islamophobia and adopt it, rather than undertaking the futile exercise of coming up with its own."

* Read the APPG report Islamophobia Defined here

* Muslim Council of Britain


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