“The need to avoid terrorist stereotyping”
Preparing for terrorist attacks is vital so that police protocols can be refined and lessons learnt to improve cooperation between emergency services. The terror exercise organised yesterday at the Trafford Centre by the GMP is welcomed by community groups and individuals, who as always are ready to help and support the police to defeat terrorism.
However we share the concerns expressed by many including on social media that the “fake suicide bomber” shouted the religious phrase “Allahu Akbar” meaning “God is the Greatest”. This in the eyes of many was unjustified and perpetuates the false stereotypes about the nature of terrorists and terrorism.
Terrorism has no faith or religion, a fact borne out that terrorists in the 21st century come from all backgrounds. In addition apart from being deeply offensive to millions of Muslims who recite this phrase daily in religious worship, using this phrase in such a context unnecessarily alarms the wider community who may become concerned when this is heard in completely innocent day to day interactions.
Such an ill informed decision unfortunately only stigmatises the Muslim community and contributes to the rising Islamophobia in the UK. It was unacceptable and in any event, unnecessary to achieve the learning experience from this exercise.
We do however welcome the swift action by the GMP in acknowledging that on reflection this action was unacceptable and the apology given.
Moving forward, we recommend that the authorities when preparing for such Counter Terrorism exercises do not perpetuate terrorist stereotypes and stigmatise religious communities and closer cooperation with grass roots organisations will prevent further misunderstandings and better working relations.
Date of release – 10th May 2016
Issued by Manchester Council of Mosques, Bolton Council of Mosques and Stockport Muslims
ABOUT MANCHESTER COUNCIL OF MOSQUES (MCOM)
MCOM represent over 70 mosques in Manchester with a combined congregation of over 80,000 people. MCOM aims to work for Manchester and beyond to be a great place to worship, live, work and prosper in. MCOM regularly issues statements and press releases to mosques and the wider society to build a just and harmonious society.
ABOUT STOCKPORT MUSLIMS
Stockport Muslims are Muslims from the communities and suburbs of Greater Manchester that work with all communities in developing mutual understanding and social cohesion. Stockport Muslims are committed to justice, tolerance and building a fairer society for all.
The Bolton Council of Mosques (BCoM) has been uniting, and standing up for Muslims in Bolton for over 20 years. Its goal is to ensure that all Muslims have the opportunity to take an active part in building a better society for everyone
who lives in Bolton by involving them at a grass roots level, and highlighting the vital contribution they make to the town. BCoM has 26 affiliated Mosques.
For more information, please contact 07904 092 748 or 07833 494 088