Letter to Manchester Police over Allahu Akbar
Wifaqul Ulama Public Affairs (Department)
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh (Peace, Blessings & Mercy of Allah be upon You).
Assistant Chief Commissioner Garry Shewan
Professional Standards Branch (PSB)
GMP Force HQ
Lawton St, Openshaw
Manchester M11 2NS
We would like to take this opportunity to welcome the efforts and resources invested by Greater Manchester Police in protecting our society and keeping our neighbourhoods safe. As part of this effort, we also welcome your specific efforts in ensuring that the GMP can respond effectively to any terrorist threats.
It is therefore unfortunate that following the execution of an anti-terrorism exercise, media and police attention and resource has been diverted from applauding an otherwise successful exercise, to explaining why terminology was used, which is associated by Muslims with peace and prayer, in this drill. Such use has offended the wider Muslim community and raised existing concerns about the hijacking of such an exercise with the use of this terminology by right wing extremists potentially adding to an increasing Islamophobia within our society.
It is therefore very welcoming that integrity was demonstrated and individual ownership taken by your apology on behalf of the GMP. More so in light of the recent revelations surrounding the Hillsborough affair which have resulted in damaging both the reputation of the Police Services and jeopardised local community trust in policing. Your apology was swift and sincere and will reduce any risk of further jeopardising community relations between the Police Services and wider Muslim community.
We are confident that lessons will be learned and any relevant processes which could prevent a corrosion in trust between local communities and the Police will be reviewed with measures being put in place to prevent risk of a reoccurrence in future.
We also recognise the time, effort, commitment and the often complex environment in which our Police Services must operate. Therefore we would also like to take this opportunity to invite Greater Manchester Police force in working with our community by consulting the views of Muslims in such exercises and events.
We look forward to your written acknowledgement of this correspondence and your proposal in writing as to the action being taken to both identify and implement all necessary preventative measures.
Letter sent on the 9th of May 2016