Muslim groups condemn stop-and-search policy

Muslim groups angrily condemned British Transport Police yesterday for suggesting that young men from ethnic minorities were more likely to be stopped and questioned in the wake of the London bombings.

Government ministers appeared to be divided on the issue. While Home Office minister Hazel Blears has backed the BTP, Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland minister, said a stop and search policy of discriminating against Muslims would simply act as recruiting agent for terrorism, as it had done with Irish communities in the past….

Home Office figures show that stop and searches of Asian people have risen steeply since the September 11 attacks.

A spokesman for the Muslim Council of Britain said that while it understands the police need to take all necessary actions, it had to avoid “alienating or stigmatising” and an entire section of society. “Otherwise this action will be counterproductive,” said a spokesman. Muslim Association of Britain said such a policy would worsen the situation. “It won’t help in terms of building a relationship or trust between the communities.”

Independent, 1 August 2005

See also ‘Searches of Asians will boost bombers, says Hain’,  Daily Mirror, 2 August 2005

And ‘Blears backs away from racial profiling’, Guardian 2 August 2005