A government-sanctioned, independent review of British counter-terrorism is recommending that authorities be careful not to “inconvenience” or “traumatize” the Muslim communities in which terrorism suspects live.
The report by Britain’s independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, Max Hill, concluded “police should consider and reflect upon the community impact of a large-scale investigation” because “many blameless residents will have been inconvenienced if not traumatized.
That’s outrageous, contended Gatestone Institute senior fellow Judith Bergman in a column.
“If you do not even dare to link terrorism to its source, then surely neither can you prepare for it,” she wrote. “You cannot even speak about the gravely detrimental effects that Islamic terrorism has on the well-being of children and others in general society, because Islamic terrorism is (officially) not even supposed to exist.”
Bergman said it’s “only in such a society – where everything has been turned on its head, where the authorities cannot tell who are the victims and who are the people who may feel as if they are victims if someone asks them some questions – that a terrorist investigation can be considered ‘an inconvenience.'”
The government report was connected to the terror attack in Manchester in May 2017 in which Salman Abedi murdered 22 people and injured 139, half of them children, at an Ariana Grande pop concert at the Manchester Arena.
Bergman said Hill essentially is saying that the police “should consider making it a priority to work in a way so that their investigations of the murder and maiming of all these people will not ‘inconvenience’ the community in which the suicide bomber lived.”
Regarding the Manchester attack, Hill said ‘police should consider and reflect upon the community impact of a large-scale investigation, centring (sic) as it did on particular areas of Manchester with a large Muslim population.”
“Good community policing, as well as good counter-terrorism policing, demands that real efforts are made to work within and with local communities, where many blameless residents will have been inconvenienced if not traumatized by the regular appearance of police search and arrest teams on their streets or in their home.”
Bergman noted Hill’s recommendations came from “talks he had previously had with various Muslim organizations across the U.K. about the impact of counter-terror legislation on their lives and the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester in 2017.”
The “roundtable” conversations were recorded in a separate report, and the document describes a meeting “with representatives of the Libyan-Muslim community in Manchester – from which Abedi emerged,” Bergman explained.
The report said: “Throughout the meeting, almost all participants articulated a profound sense of anger and frustration at the consequences of extensive police raids within the community and a perceived lack of support to deal with these consequences, including the fear of being ostracized and targeted by wider society… Individuals – particularly children and teenagers – who have been directly affected were said to have been left traumatized and humiliated, creating a sense of alienation that it was warned could have profoundly damaging consequences for the U.K. unless urgently addressed. … Specific concerns were raised about the potential for a rise in Islamophobic attacks in the current context and it was hoped that the authorities would take such a threat seriously and offer increased support to communities.”
But Bergman pointed out that no one seems to be holding roundtable talks “with non-Muslim communities across the U.K. to address their legitimate fears and concerns about religiously-motivated terrorism on their lives.”
She point out the rise in the number of people seeking counseling after the Manchester terror attack and the complaints that many didn’t know where to turn for help.
“It is mystifying that the victims of terror had nowhere to turn: it has been more than a decade since the first mass terrorist attack in the U.K., in 2005 on London’s transit system, where 56 people were killed and 700 wounded. Since then, Britain has only seen the terror threat continue,” she wrote.
“Perhaps the main reason that terror victims had nowhere to turn is that even after years of living with Islamic terrorism, British authorities and public services still appear to be more concerned with dealing with perceived ‘Islamophobia’ than with the real, devastating consequences of terrorism.”