Muslims have greater faith in the police compared to the rest of the population despite claims of discrimination against the community because of a perceived terrorist threat, according to an analysis of crime data out today.
A research paper found that 61 per cent of Muslims rated the police as good or excellent compared to 53 per cent of non-Muslims, despite criticisms of police tactics such as stop-and-search which have led to complaints of ethnic and religious targeting.
The paper – which analysed responses to the crime survey for England and Wales – also challenged what it said was a narrative of “victimisation” with figures suggesting that Muslims were as likely to be targets of violent crime as non-Muslims.
The findings published today in the British Journal of Criminology were based on a study which analysed the annual survey from 2006 to 2010. The survey carried out doorstep interviews of some 50,000 people last year and the Home Office considers it a better gauge of the true level of crime than police recorded figures since it includes crimes that have not been reported by victims. But the survey does not include attacks against properties including mosques and small shops, raising questions about its effectiveness as a tool to measure the extent of anti-Muslim crime.
The survey is also likely to underestimate the level of low-level hate crimes and abuse, said the report’s author, Julian Hargreaves, of Cambridge’s Centre of Islamic Studies.
“It’s often reported that Muslim individuals are more likely to be at risk from violent crime than other communities,” said Mr Hargreaves. “But not only is violent crime a rare occurrence, it’s no more likely to affect Muslims then others, such as Hindus and Sikhs.”
The report follows a police terrorism awareness week over growing concerns about the threat of a terrorist attack from radicalised British Muslims amid a sharp rise in activity from the police, who claim to have foiled a number of plots this year.
More than 500 young Britons are believed to have travelled to Syria to train and fight. The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has announced new measures to address the potential threat including tighter restrictions on terrorist suspects. The threat assessment for international terrorism was raised to severe in August, meaning that an attack was highly likely.
Yesterday it was reported that a suspected British jihadist who travelled to Syria has been persuaded to return home by his father who travelled 2,000 miles to see him.
Ahmed Mohammadi was a friend of two British men who appeared in a gruesome Isis recruitment video but was rescued by his father before he could be irretrievably drawn into Islamic militancy.
His father, Karim, travelled from his home in Cardiff to search for his son and was given safe passage across the Turkish border into Syria in his quest. Community leaders in Cardiff put him in touch with contacts in Turkey, according to the Sunday Times, who were able to help him locate his son. The family is of Kurdish-Iraqi origins.
Last week, the campaigning group Cage said the Government had created a false “climate of fear” around the issue of returning Britons and the prospect that they would launch attacks.
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