‘Pub­lic don’t be­lieve imams over ter­ror’

The Daily Telegraph - - News - By Martin Evans CRIME COR­RE­SPON­DENT and Patrick Sawer

THE Bri­tish pub­lic do not be­lieve Mus­lim imams any more when they con­demn ter­ror at­tacks, a for­mer po­lice chief has said.

Mak Chishty, who re­tired last week as Bri­tain’s most se­nior Mus­lim po­lice of­fi­cer, said com­mu­nity lead­ers were al­ways quick to de­nounce acts of ter­ror, but sadly their con­dem­na­tion was no longer be­ing taken se­ri­ously.

He said peo­ple have “had enough” fol­low­ing the Lon­don Bridge at­tacks, adding that it was time to stop “skirt­ing around the is­sues” and have some “very dif­fi­cult con­ver­sa­tions”.

Is­su­ing a “call to ac­tion” to all Bri­tish Mus­lims, he urged them to launch a so­cial me­dia blitz, us­ing Face­book and What­sapp, to let all Bri­tons know how strongly they feel about rad­i­cal Is­lam and the ex­trem­ism that leads to vi­o­lence.

Speak­ing to an au­di­ence at the think tank Re­form in cen­tral Lon­don, he said: “It has been a turn­ing point be­cause peo­ple have had enough. I don’t agree with that but I un­der­stand it.”

He added: “When lead­ers stand up and say ‘we con­demn this’, the change has been, ‘we do not be­lieve you...where are your deeds, we hear your words, but what have you done to change this?’”

He urged all Bri­tish Mus­lims to re­claim so­cial me­dia – a fer­tile re­cruit­ing ground for ex­trem­ists – and use pop­u­lar sites to ar­tic­u­late their re­vul­sion.

He said: “I would like to is­sue a call for ac­tion to­day for ev­ery sin­gle Mus­lim, from a young per­son all the way through to my mother-in-law who is well in her mid-60s but has got a What­sapp or a Face­book, to get on there and start to de­nounce ex­trem­ism.

“All of a sud­den, maybe you will find that th­ese ex­trem­ist voices start to shrink ... re­move their dom­i­nance, starve them of oxy­gen. Make sure they have got a pow­er­ful lobby against them. We can do that now.”

His com­ments came as a for­mer Scot­land Yard col­league, Craig Mackey, warned that cuts to po­lice bud­gets were hav­ing a detri­men­tal im­pact on the abil­ity of forces to pro­tect the pub­lic against ter­ror at­tacks.

Mr Mackey, who is deputy com­mis­sioner of the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice, said that each branch of the po­lice ser­vice needs to be funded prop­erly.

He told the Lon­don As­sem­bly: “Counter-ter­ror­ism is ring fenced and pro­tected, but it re­quires the whole of the polic­ing sys­tem to work.”

The Met has had to make £600mil­lion of sav­ings over the past four years and is plan­ning to in­tro­duce another £400mil­lion in cuts by 2020-21.

So­phie Lin­den, Lon­don’s deputy mayor for polic­ing and crime, said: “We are in­creas­ingly wor­ried and con­cerned that if we carry on with bud­get cuts we won’t have the re­sources we need to keep Lon­don safe.”

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