British values are under threat because the government’s attempt to combat terrorism has left whole communities “stigmatised”, the National Association of Muslim Police has told MPs.
The Prevent strategy, designed to stop radicalisation, focuses too much on Islamic extremism rather than the threat posed by the far right, claims the association, which represents more than 2,000 police officers.
“Never before has a community been mapped in a manner and nor will it be,” the association said in evidence to a Commons select committee on the strategy, known as Preventing Violent Extremism. “It is frustrating to see this in a country that is a real pillar and example of freedom of expression and choice. Our British system is a model for the world to follow, yet we have embarked on a journey that has put this very core of British values under real threat.”
It added: “The hatred towards Muslims has grown to a level that defies all logic and is an affront to British values. The climate is such that Muslims are subject to daily abuse in a manner that would be ridiculed by Britain, were this to occur anywhere else.”
The comments are contained in a memorandum to the committee stating that the growth of the far right and its ability to carry out terror acts should not be underestimated: “All forms [of violent extremism] – rightwing, separatist, so-called Islamist, green issues … need to be addressed as opposed to the current Prevent focus on Islam.”
There was a sense of frustration among Muslims and “some serious damage” may already have been done, it said. The government’s anti-terrorism policies could not “continue unchecked”, said the memorandum, and more thorough research should have been done before any consideration was given to the Prevent strategy being formulated. The result, it said, was a rise in Islamophobia.
Meanwhile, over at the Telegraph website, Nile Gardiner offers his thoughtful response to the NAMP’s criticisms:
“It is wrong, according to the Muslim police association, to blame Islam for being the ‘driver’ of terror attacks in Britain…. The 2,000 strong National Association of Muslim Police is clearly in a state of denial regarding the motivation and inspiration behind the vast majority of terrorists in the UK…. Islamist militants pose the biggest threat to British security since the rise of Nazi Germany…. The notion that the thousands of terrorists currently based in the United Kingdom are not acting to advance a global jihad led by Osama bin London and his barbaric cohorts is ludicrous. Their goal is simple – the destruction of the free world and the establishment of an Islamist caliphate in the West.”
Update: Writing on her Spectator blog, Mad Melanie Phillips claims that NAMP’s letter includes an “implicit threat of violence” and she observes that: “Rather than taming jihadi extremism in Britain, the cowardice of politicians has merely resulted in fracturing the thin blue line that protects us – and turning it into a potential weapon of the jihad.”