British media is reporting that the British National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP), a representative body for Muslims working within policing, wants the term “Islamist” dropped from counter-terrorism policing over concerns it unfairly stigmatizes Islam. According to an article by BirminghamLive:
November 14, 2022 The group says it has previously raised concerns over the use of ‘Islamist’ and ‘Islamism’ with police chiefs and politicians, including recently with former Home Secretary Priti Patel. But it has now gone public after no agreement to drop the words.
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Alex Gent, Chairman of the NAMP, said that his organization wanted the term to be replaced with “anti-western extremism” or something similar, adding that Islamophobia remained an issue in wider UK policing. Gent also said that the need for “accurate and fair” descriptions of terrorist incidents was key and that counter-terrorism policing needed to be mindful of the impact this has on the community. One former British Muslim officer told UK media:
The use of the world Islamist to describe radicalisation or terrorism is feeding into the wrong agenda and is very offensive and insensitive.
The group cited cases where Muslim officers had been wrongly referred to the British government’s anti-extremism scheme Prevent by their own colleagues after religious pilgrimages or following conversions to the religion. Prevent is part of the broader counter-terrorism strategy Contest. It is funded by the UK Home Office and designed to address all forms of terrorism equally, prioritizing them according to the threat they pose to British national security.
Countering government action against Islamist radicalization and counter-terrorism policies has long been a pillar of Global Muslim Brotherhood (GMB) activity in the UK. In August 2021, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported that a Scottish parliamentary Cross-Party Group closely tied to the GMB had published an inquiry into Islamophobia that recommended the scrapping of Prevent. In August 2022, the GIOR reported that three British extremism experts had published a paper highlighting the role that UK GMB groups have played in delegitimizing the Prevent scheme.
The NAMP website says the organization “actively promotes equality, diversity, and inclusion and leads on several initiatives to facilitate better workplace environments for Muslims.” The NAMP also delivers various training packages relating to Islamic awareness and addresses issues connected to Islamophobia within the Police service. It was founded in June 2007 at the British Transport Police HQ in London in the presence of MCB Secretary-General Muhammad Abdul Bari, who has also served as a trustee of the Islamic Forum of Europe, the European wing of the Jamaat-e-Islami, a Southeast Asian Islamist political party close to the GMB.