The Metropolitan Police have signed a deal with a US company to provide them with a introductory course about Islam.
Jones Knowledge Group announced yesterday that it was to bring its new course 'Understanding Islam: An Introduction' to police officers in the Metropolitan Police (MPS) Territorial Police Command in London.
The online course is designed for corporations, school districts, and governmental organizations. It looks at the historical context of Islam, the complexities of Islamic culture, and tries to equip the learner with 'the tools necessary to improve their relations with Muslims worldwide'.
Chief Superintendent Dave Grant praised the course for its depth of knowledge about Islam and will be seeking it to be core training for MPS officers.
"The terrorist attacks in recent years have caused us, the Met Police, to focus activities around those who present the greatest danger to our communities, i.e. radical Muslims," he said. "Part of that involves far greater police community engagement between all communities likely to be affected. We have the largest Muslim and Jewish community populations living side by side in the whole UK. We are proud that we, the local communities, have been very effective in preventing racial crimes as a result of terrorism but have actually helped to encourage a whole range of activities involving all our communities to bring them closer and improve understanding of each other's cultures."
Grant said he believed his knowledge of Islam was strong, until he completed the Understanding Islam course himself.
"I can only say that my knowledge now is far superior to what it was," he said. "I found it to be eminently user-friendly, very informative and highly useful to operational police officers. Far, far better than anything I have seen in police circles before."
Grant has purchased a number of courses for his officers to help them deliver operational policing but with a greater understanding and empathy for Muslim communities.
The course was developed by a group of Islamic scholars, led by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed. It provides real-life scenarios in which learners may choose appropriate courses of action to improve mutual communication and interaction. Organizations also have the option of purchasing scenarios that are customized to their specific work environment and corporate regulations.
"With economic globalization and Islam being the fastest-growing religion in the world, the need for strong relations between Westerners and Muslims is more important than ever, especially in our post-9/11 world," said Terry Erdle, President of Jones Knowledge.