Muslims like me are asked the same questions after any terrorist attack. For the record, here are our answers

Considering the fact that Donald Trump has come out with more unfounded claims about Muslims, it’s more important than ever to set the record straight

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The Independent Online

“The Donald” has once again reared his head, this time in an interview with Piers Morgan on ITV’s Good Morning Britain. After being called out last year for his lie about no-go areas in the UK by the Chief of the Police, he claimed today that Muslims are sheltering terrorists and not reporting suspected terror cases to the police.

The problem with Donald Trump - other than the fact that his statements on Muslims seem to be a classic case of political fear-mongering: conflating issues of terrorism, criminality, refugees and migration to gain votes with no regard to its consequences  - is that he seems to makes claims based on very little real evidence.

Trump says British Muslims are “absolutely not reporting” suspected terrorists

Let’s break this down into some simple questions and answers: do British Muslims condemn terrorism? Do British Muslims report terrorism when they see it? Can British Muslim communities do more?

Do British Muslims condemn terrorism?

If you find yourself asking this question, you may have failed to look for the answer. Muslim communities across the UK have and will continue to condemn terrorism unequivocally. See, for example, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) website for a list of such statements. In fact, the MCB even issued a full page advert in the Daily Telegraph to underscore this point.

It is also important to ask why Muslims should be confronted on the street, as seems to have happened in Croydon, to “explain Brussels”. Many Muslims wonder why they should have to respond on behalf of the acts of murderers in other parts of the world.

Do British Muslims report terrorism when they see it?

According to Neil Basu, a senior counter-terrorism officer on BBC Radio 4, Donald Trump “is wrong” when he asserts that Muslims are not reporting enough. Richard Walton, the Scotland Yard’s former anti-terror chief actually praised Muslims in London for coming forward to help the fight against extremism, explaining how “we have had increasing support from the Muslim community”. The National Police Chiefs Council states that there have been hundreds of tip-offs directly from the community or faith leaders in the last six months. And according to a BBC Comres poll, 94 per cent of British Muslims said that if someone they knew from the Muslim community was planning an act of violence, they would report them to the police.

We have to face that challenges remain: how can we know that someone is a terrorist? We know that the Paris attackers and the people who were arrested last week drank, smoked and owned bars. We know that these individuals operate on the fringes of society and online – how do mosques find out about these small number of individuals?

Can British Muslim communities do more? 

Almost definitely. As can we all.  We should all work harder to build stronger communities, to reach out to those outside society and to challenge criminality where we see it. 

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