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Issue 208, Friday 25 August 2006 - 1 Sha'ban 1427
Muslim police officer investigated for terror
The Metropolitan Police has placed one of its Muslim officers on limited duties while it investigates claims he may have attended a “terror camp linked to Al-Qa’idah” in Pakistan. The officer, in his mid-twenties, who denies the allegations, is one of three Muslim officers quizzed by Scotland Yard.
The inquiry follows disclosures earlier in July that terrorist supporters had aimed to penetrate the intelligence services by applying for posts in MI5, to operate as “fifth columnists” passing on secret operations data to banned groups.
The Metropolitan Police said that it would look at individual cases if there were concerns, but that it was not reassessing the backgrounds of its entire Muslim staff. The officer was placed on restricted duties at a London police station. According to sources his security clearance for sensitive databases has been withdrawn pending the results of an internal inquiry.
The inquiry was promoted by the finding he made a trip to Pakistan before joining the police in 2001. He returned to Britain shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks. During an interview with the Yard’s secret vetting unit, which works closely with MI5, it was suggested he may have attended or associated with people at an Al-Qa’idah training camp. The British-born officer, whose parents are from Pakistan, denies knowingly meeting terrorists. The officer is said to have told his interviewers that he went to Islamabad to attend a religious school to assist his entrance into UK based college but dumped his studies to join the force in 2003.
The Association of Muslim Police (AMP) says there are two other investigations in which Muslim officers have been interviewed about trips to Pakistan. Speaking to The Muslim News AMP Secretary, Tahir Butt, said his organisation would find it “inappropriate if the Met vetted Muslim officers purely on a visit to Pakistan.” He added they should be treated like “any officer who would visit Spain for holiday.” AMP was reassured by senior Met officials that investigations would not be based purely on Muslim officers visiting political hot spot locations.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police told The Muslim News they could not “confirm or deny any current investigation” but added, “All police officers upon joining the Met Police service and during their career undergo a range of security checks. These are robust and vary according to the type and sensitivity of any post.” Some officers are “subject to further checks if security issues arise” but added they would “never target an officer for an investigation based on their race or faith”. However, Butt said AMP was still troubled by “the disproportionate number of Asian and Muslim officers facing charges of misconduct or investigations.”
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