24 January 2000
The Metropolitan Police Service Assistant Commissioner David Veness recently held a meeting with a delegation from the Muslim Council of Britain lead by Secretary General Mr Iqbal Sacranie.
Mr Veness and Mr Sacranie both described the meeting as very constructive and positive and agreed that the relationship between the police and the Muslim community was developing along healthy lines.
A number of issues were discussed. Mr Sacranie said that a concern for the Muslim community was the use of the word “Islamic” when referring to reports of alleged acts of terrorism or speculation of incidents anywhere in the world.
Mr Sacranie said: “The word ‘Islamic’ and ‘terrorist’ are mutually contradictory. It is just like describing a criminal as an Islamic thief or Islamic robber.”
He stressed the need for great care and sensitivity because the overwhelming majority of the Muslim community were law abiding and rejected all forms of terrorism and should not, in one sweep, be tarnished as a violent community.
Mr Veness said: “I recognise the concerns of the Muslim community and that we must be sensitive when using the word Islamic, especially when it is being associated with alleged acts of terrorism. My meeting with Mr Sacranie was constructive and positive. We both agreed that we should work together to develop a greater understanding of all the issues as well as effective lines of communication.”
It was agreed that a way forward would be for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Muslim Council of Britain to work together to produce a joint working paper in order to highlight any concerns of the Muslim community and act as a point of reference for future consultation with all relevant agencies.
The other members of the MCB delegation were Mr Tariq Khan, Deputy Chair Media Committee, and Dr Abdul Raheem Khan, Chair Membership Committee.