Muslims Critical of Authorities' "Indiscriminate Use" of Anti-Terror Legislation

August 8, 2004

Source: The Observer,6903,1278602,00.html

On August 8, 2004 The Observer reported, "With the country on high alert, the arrests of...two men, along with 11 others in raids across the country last week, seemed to suggest that the authorities were indeed gaining an upper hand on the security threat to the country. But among some British Muslims, particularly young men, these arrests are merely another example of what they perceive as police victimisation and an attack on Islam. Though initially supportive of the fight against terrorism, many British Muslims of all ages are growing disillusioned after seeing more and more of their number arrested in high-profile raids only to be released without charge...Some even spoke about the threat of a possible reaction from young local Muslims in response to what they describe as a growing schism created by anti-terror legislation and its indiscriminate use by the security authorities...Official figures show that between 11 September, 2001, and the end of March this year, 562 arrests have been made under terrorism legislation, and 97 people were charged with terrorist offences. Of those only 14 have been convicted. If more people were convicted, Shah says young Muslims would not feel so disenfranchised by a system that regularly picks up people in an ad hoc manner only to release them without charge, but with their reputation in tatters."