English Defense League Blog
By Pyrus in November 27th 2011
BBC News reports that the Greater Manchester Police Mosques and Community Forum, Greater Manchester Police’s ‘Islamic advisory group’, have criticised the force for putting undercover officers in a number of mosques in the area.
The covert counter-terrorist operations resulted in three men being convicted of attempting to recruit the undercover officers to fight British soldiers in Afghanistan.
Shouldn’t the police be applauded for helping to combat extremism and for safeguarding the lives of the soldiers that these men were intending to target?
Surely members of the Muslim Community should be ashamed that there were such vile extremists operating within their midst?
Instead, Greater Manchester Police Mosques and Community Forum member Rabnawaz Akbar is reported as saying: “Mosques are a special place for Muslims and when people were told that this had happened they just felt betrayed. It’s left a scar on the good relations that had been built over the years.”
So, the Muslim response to the police arresting dangerous extremists isn’t to speak out against extremism, it isn’t to criticise the community for sheltering these people, it isn’t to consider how this sort of extremism can be prevented in future… no, it’s to criticise the police for daring to engage in counter terrorism efforts in the first place!
Yasmin Dar, another member of this pointless ‘Islamic advisory group’, is reported as saying: “It’s alarming, you’ve got one community that is being targeted. I’ve not heard of any cases of undercover officers going into churches or synagogues, so why a particular faith?”
Why do you think Yasmin? Why do you think the police aren’t focusing on the threat posed by Christian and Jewish extremists?
Why do you think are they picking on Islam? How could they possibly think that there might be dangerous extremists within the Muslim community?
Could it perhaps have something to do with the facts? The fact that countless terrorist acts have been committed in the name of the religion of peace, the fact that Britain has experienced a number of ‘home grown’ terrorists, the fact that the Muslim community continues to lend support to the Taliban in Afghanistan, the fact that radical preachers who promote intolerance and preach Islamic Supremacism are regularly welcomed to speak in British mosques, and the fact that so few British Muslims can be counted on the speak out against this extremism.
Never mind the fact the undercover work did result in the arrest of dangerous extremists, the Greater Manchester Police Mosques and Community Forum no doubt is still convinced that the police force – probably the whole country – is institutionally ‘Islamophobic’.
What would their ‘advice’ be? More Islamic cultural awareness days for police officers?
Perhaps more importantly, why does the Greater Manchester Police Force need advice from an Islamic group? Perhaps if they were, for example, providing useful intelligence, helping to form strategies for combat Islamic extremism, or encouraging members of the Muslim community to assist the police; perhaps then they’d fulfill a useful role.
But if this story’s anything to go by, there’s not much evidence of that. Rather than helping the police they appear to be excusing the criminals and denying that the Muslim community has any responsibility to help combat extremism. That’s not just disappointing, that’s an outrage. The Muslim community should recognise that it has a duty to combat extremism – that it owes that much to the rest of this country. It cannot ignore Islamic extremism and then get upset that the police go undercover to expose their continued failures.
Here’s our suggestion: Greater Manchester Police should cease any cooperation with the Greater Manchester Police Mosques and Community Forum. They should publicly announce that ‘the Forum’ has actually proved to be an obstacle to effective policing, and that as long as Mosques are breeding grounds for extremism they will also be the target of covert police operations.
But will they do anything like that? Of course not. Because the received wisdom is to not talk about the problems that plague the Muslim community in the naive hope that this will prevent resentment. In fact, it does the opposite. The police need to target the Muslim community – that’s just a fact. But if British Muslims are at the same time prevented from hearing fair criticisms, then they’ll struggle to understand the reason why their community is being specifically targeted.
That’s why a member of a Muslim advocacy organisation can manage to ask with a straight face why it is that the police are only targeting their community. The facts are simple: only a minority of Muslims are terrorists, but the majority of terrorists are Muslims. That’s a problem. Solving the problem shouldn’t mean criticising the police for making arrests. Neither should it mean criticising those who are pointing out the problems rather than those who are causing them.
The BBC must realise how ridiculous this example is, but what have they done to highlight the fact that this sort of response from the Muslim community is so blatantly counter-productive? The BBC claims to be impartial, and yet it’s done very little to support the police action. Perhaps that’s because it was so obvious in this case that the police were entirely justified in taking the actions that they did. But when have they ever called on the Muslim community to do more?
Their article is subtitled: “Some Muslims feel that non-Muslims posing as members of the faith within a mosque was disrespectful.”
What’s more disrespectful? Responding to a genuine national security threat by placing officers undercover, or endangering all communities by failing to respond to the threat? That’s an important (and actually quite obvious) question, but it’s one that is completely absent from the BBC article.
The big story here isn’t that some Muslims feel that they haven’t been treated with enough respect, it’s that a group that the police force uses to advise it on Islamic matters is more keen to criticise the police for making arrests than it is to speak out against the widespread extremism that necessitated the arrests.
That’s a big worry, and it’s one that will surely have immediately occurred to the majority of people who read the article on the BBC site. But if the BBC never even mention legitimate concerns such as these, how can we expect the Muslim community to understand and respond to them? How can we expect to combat extremism when the state broadcaster doesn’t seem to want to encourage the discussions necessary to formulate an effective response?
Perhaps we need fewer ‘Islamic advisory groups’ and more engagement with anti-extremism organisations. The EDL would be a good place to start.