Tuesday, 29 July 2008
Police: Religion & Terror - The Lessons Scotland Needs to Wake Up To!
Superintendent Andy Pratt who is a superintendent officer in Blackburn came to talk to us about policing in England and Wales. Andy stated at the onset that England is very different from Scotland. The individual sections of the police force is split into different regions. This gives each police force freedom to decide on what issues are more important for that region. The area of Blackburn has a large community of Muslims of Pakistani/Indian origin. In light of the recent rise of Muslim terrorists the police force have had to try and figure out a way out of this. Andy stated that the force is more focused on provoking and pursuing the terrorists than preventing.
Andy told us of the time when Muslims on the day of Eid were driving around Blackburn and getting into accidents. This had in the past led to even death. This is also a worry in the south side of Glasgow on Eid day when guys feel the urge to race around in their cars with music blaring. So Andy had decided to send these boys home off the streets but found himself in the centre of a group of Muslims who started to throw cans of juice at him. This was a very worrying moment for him but all of a sudden he found a wall of Muslim boys surrounding him and telling others to stop hurting him. As a Christian, Andy chuckled at his local Church how Muslim angels had saved him!
I was greatly saddened when he said that Scotland seemed to be in denial that terrorist were breeding in Scotland and how wrong they were when the terrorists rammed cars full of explosives into Glasgow Airport. I am not going to say ‘I told you so’, or maybe I am, but I did mention to some senior officials in Glasgow that Scotland was, and still is, a great breeding ground for terrorists. And as Andy has mentioned the way forward is to focus on prevention than pursuing. What is Scotland doing to challenge and educate communities about the intricacies in which the Muslim communities are? Why is the Scottish government seeking figure heads to represent ‘peaceful Islam’? As our summer school director mentioned the other day, the real focus (and this is related to prevention) is to challenge and engage with those who have conservative and puritanical understanding and approaches to Islam. I have mentioned time and time again that the vast majority of people are able to disguise and package bigoted and prejudicial identity, this is a worry of mine. Andy was very brave to state that racism is an issue amongst the British.