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Muslim community explains concerns over Trafford Centre terrorism exercise

by Iain Roberts on 11 May, 2016

Our local Muslim community has issued this press release explaining why they have been concerned about the Trafford Centre terrorist attack exercise.

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 on May 9th 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.

Issued by Manchester Council of Mosques, Bolton Council of Mosques and Stockport Muslims

   8 Comments

8 Responses

  1. John Hartley says:

    Whilst I’m sure that everyone would agree that shouting out Allahu Akbar was silly and, yes, stereotypical.It is not, however, unreasonable to note that in recent times the terrorist threat has come from extremists who also profess to be Muslims, and police training exercises need to reflect that.

    In saying that, I fully accept that in our part of the world, the two actual terrorist attacks on Manchester came from the IRA.

  2. Alan Gent says:

    I agree John, very swift to comment on things like this but at times reluctant to condemn actual terrorist offences involving Muslims.
    And it has to be acknowledged as in yesterday’s paper, these offences are committed by Muslims. Until the Muslim community is active in exposing terrorist activity within itself, I’m afraid
    Muslims have to accept that they will
    be subject to scrutiny.

  3. Ian says:

    What world does Alan Gent come from happily not mine. I would consider that to be racist and would ask Iain to remove it.

  4. Art Lampkin says:

    Sorry but I do not find anything said which is racist people are to quick to shout racist in these days when someone disagrees with someone of another ethnic background.

  5. Halifaix says:

    The intro states ‘Terrorism has no faith or religion, a fact borne out that terrorists in the 21st century come from all backgrounds’

    No it doesn’t – The headline ones in the west have all been from people who follow one religion. And they commit these atrocities because someone has convinced them that they will go to paradise being doing so.

    Chicken Dave called them extremists, but from what I understand no one had been able to define what is an extreme follower and what is a moderate follower.

    As an atheist I find religion extreme.

  6. John Hartley says:

    It is a difficult issue, for the police, etc and, more importantly, for the whole community.

    As I said, in my earlier post, evidence indicates the criminals come from a tiny section of society – a tiny section even of the Muslim community. But we shouldnt be demonising whole groups. These are isolated groups of criminals and need to be treated as such.

    Again, as earlier, when the IRA twice bombed Manchester city centre, we didnt demonise all Irish people, or all Roman Catholics.

    There is no difference now.

  7. David Maycock says:

    It is not racist what was said and GMP should not have apologised. It is about time our so called Muslim friends started standing up to these people and the ones who spout hatred on our streets and also get used to British customs and lighten up a bit. And before i get any Trolling i am a retired Postman who has knocked on doors in Heald Green and Gatley where women have not answered the door because i am a man ? and one lady i accidentley saw because a child opened the door, ran screaming in to the back of the house because she had no head covering on ?
    What’s all that about. Most post persons from the area have similar stories to tell.

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