Muslim leader warns of breakdown in trust
Trust could break down between police and the Muslim population if the reasons for Friday’s anti-terror raid in London are not made clear, a community leader has warned.
Muhammad Abdul Bari, the new head of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said the police must explain why the dawn raid in Forest Gate, in which one man was shot, was necessary.
His comments came after Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Andy Hayman insisted the police had “no choice” but to act, after receiving “specific intelligence”.
Police have yet to find any evidence of planning for a terrorist operation, and Dr Abdul is not the only person questioning why such a major operation, which involved about 200 officers, was necessary.
“The message is the confusion, it’s the frustration and to some extent anger,” the new MCB chief said during a visit to Forest Gate last night.
“People want to know what exactly happened and about the intelligence – is it genuine information, is it flawed? These are the questions police have to answer as soon as possible.”
He warned: “Trust could be an issue. Trust could break down if things are not clarified. Angry people can do anything, angry people can even feel that they should take the law into their own hands so anger has to be directed into positive action.”
Briefing reporters on the situation yesterday, Mr Hayman said that despite police intelligence, there was as yet no sign of any kind of chemical device. But he insisted that even the risk of such a device existing would have justified Friday’s raid.
“Having got the specific intelligence and made the decision, there was no choice but to act upon it,” he said. “You have to put public safety as the overriding priority.”
He added: “If you chose not to do that – and heaven forbid it was the wrong decision and there was some device – you would never be able to live with yourself.”
Mohammad Abdul Kahar, 23, was shot once during the raid, was subsequently arrested in hospital and has since been transferred to Paddington Green police station. His brother, 20-year-old Abul Koyair, has also been arrested. Both deny being involved in terrorism.