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The invisibility of islamophobia – MEND statement into the final report by Baroness Casey into the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

The invisibility of islamophobia – MEND statement into the final report by Baroness Casey into the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday March 22 2023

Whilst we welcome this review, we note with concern the conspicuous absence of any mention of Islamophobia within it. While MEND applauds the attention given to other forms of discrimination, including misogyny and homophobia, it is alarming that bigotry targeted exclusively at Muslims, simply by virtue of their ‘Muslimness,’ is not treated by Ms. Casey with a similar level of importance. In recent years figures from the Home Office have shown that around half of all religious hate crime in the UK is directed towards Muslims. On the reasonable assumption that serving police officers in the MPS are reflective of the wider community, then why should rates of hate crime and discrimination against Muslims be any different in the MPS?

It is not as though there are no examples to report. In recent months, numerous examples have emerged showing that there is a problem of endemic Islamophobia within the MPS. In a series of leaked WhatsApp messages which demonstrated the depths of bigotry and racism in the MPS, one officer wrote about how he, “just walked past the big mosque” where “all the fanatics turn up at to radicalize the young Muslims.” In another incident, Muslim officers were required to record their prayer times, while non-Muslim officers taking breaks did not have to log their names. In fact, these examples appear to be the tip of an iceberg.

While MEND acknowledges that Ms. Casey does include one incident in which a Muslim had bacon put into his boots by fellow police officers, the acknowledgement of this one example does nothing to capture the apparent pervasiveness of the problem of Islamophobia within the MPS. It is staggering that, considering examples of Islamophobia emanating from the MPS from recent years are manifold, Baroness Casey only manages to include this one example throughout her entire 363-page report, and no examples in the section on racism. Given that Islamophobia is form of racism, that is remarkable.

MEND recalls that it was Baroness Casey who oversaw the controversial 2016 review community integration and social cohesion in the UK. That review was widely accused of disproportionately focusing on Muslims, accusing them of self-segregation and a refusal among a large number to integrate info modern Britain. Worse still, the report included borderline neo-imperialist language, such as referring to “regressive cultural practices” among Muslim communities and the need to “emancipate” Muslim women. Given that this report shows that Ms. Casey has a history of not taking structural Islamophobia seriously, MEND questions whether she could be expected to find it within the MPS.

Casey concludes that “Discrimination is tolerated, not dealt with and has become baked into the system.” However before specific discrimination can be dealt with, it has to be named. From reading this report one would conclude that Islamophobia is not a problem in the MPS.

We hope that the press, civil society groups and human rights organisations, both Muslim and non-Muslim, will hold Baroness Casey’s review into the MPS to scrutiny for its omission of the problem of Islamophobia in the MPS. MEND also calls upon the current Commissioner, Sir Mark Rowley and the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan to commission an addendum report into the prevalence of Islamophobia in the MPS. If this is not undertaken it is hard to see how the MPS can regain the trust of the significant BAME and Muslim population of London.


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