Friday, 6 February 2009

Terror arrests anger community


16:55 GMT, Thursday, 1 February 2007

One day after the nine terror arrests in the Birmingham area, the local communities have been assessing the impact of the police operation.

Some claim the arrests and the vast amount of media coverage are likely to cause lasting damage to community relations.


Councillor Yaqoob
Councillor Salma Yaqoob is angry about damage to the community

"The damage that's done when areas are referred to as hotbeds of radicalisation, it does Birmingham no good.

"We have actually an excellent model of cohesion here, quite a lot to be proud of and what's happening now is the fear is going to be increased, regardless of what facts emerge later, and we're saying 'keep the legal process intact'.

"We've got a strong judiciary, we've got a strong legal process, but sadly a lot of it can be contaminated and we can have a trial by media, which is the last thing we need in this country."


Allah Ditta, who is a member of a mosque in the Alum Rock area of Birmingham, says people should not forget what happened at Forest Gate and other sites where Muslims were arrested and later released without charge.

"When they raided those premises there was a big hype in the media and everything and when those people were sort-of discharged there was nobody mentioned, even in the newspaper.

"[They didn't] even get one line mention - nobody really knows about them. And then the suspicion remains with those people and with those communities and we remain to pick up the pieces."


"People who got along with each other perfectly fine, Muslims and non-Muslims, Muslims and Muslims even, people of different races and cultures, suddenly are looking at their neighbours and thinking is this the enemy within?

"Should we be suspicious? Should my children not play with these children? Suddenly a community falls apart.

"Years of bonding and bringing people up and bringing them together, working with the police and each other, suddenly falls part because of one incident and how it was maybe not dealt with as good as it could have been."


Tahir Alam is assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain and lives in Birmingham. He feels British foreign policy has led to some Muslims becoming radicalised.

"From a Muslim community point of view it's also about having a balanced understanding of Islam so that when people make suggestions which are extremist, they are actually able to rationalise them and say this is not according to the teachings of Islam and it's in fact contrary to the teachings of Islam."


"We need a minimum police presence in this area, where there's already increased frustration and anger.

"We need police to talk to community leaders, to talk to the Muslim community, not carry out a raid then talk to the Muslim community in a feeble attempt to try to talk to Muslim leaders by giving out leaflets. This is not how we help community relations."

Source: BBC News

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