Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address you on the subject of stop and search as part of your Black History Month celebrations. All the data tells us that if you are a young person of colour – like most of you present here today - then you will be a prime target for stop and search operations. The evidence of BME youth disproportionality in stop and search is incontrovertible. In October last year, a colleague and I conducted a survey on stop and search as part of a Home Office consultation, just minutes from where we are today. We stopped 43 people randomly - most of them students from Bradford College and the University and asked them about their experiences of stop and search.
JUST calls on the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service to treat all terror suspects equally before the law. Today’s hearing of the accused, Darren Osborne, should send out a clear message to the country that regardless of faith and race, the motives of the perpetrators and the consequences of all terror offences will be treated equally before the law.
Nadeem Murtuja, Chair of JUST Yorkshire said:
“Today, as the accused, Mr Osborne, attends court we should not only remember the victims, but also the incredible compassion shown to the alleged terrorist by Mohammed Mahmoud, the Mosque’s Imam. He ensured, despite the carnage he witnessed, that the defendant did not come to any harm. In that regard, I urge parts of the media and politicians to begin countering the ugly narrative that has demonised the Muslim community.
I am pleased to read that Scotland Yard is not looking for any further suspects with regards to this terrorist act. Though one has to ask, how does a single person become self-radicalised and who and what is responsible for the growing anti-Islam rhetoric so that action can be taken to tackle this form of extremism. More fundamentally, it is important to note that more than a third of referrals to the Government’s counter-terrorism hotline are now for people that are being radicalised with far-right extremist views. Most importantly, we do not advocate for any community to be held responsible for the barbaric acts of one individual, as the Muslim community continues to be.
Many Muslim people in this country feel that the law is applied subjectively, based on the race and faith of perpetrators. Therefore it is not just Darren Osborne that is on trial, rather the Crown Prosecution Service and equity in British citizenship that is also at stake.
There has been an unprecedented increase in racial hate crimes in the last 4 years as recorded by the Met Police, coupled with the fact that a place of Muslim worship is being attacked at least once a week. In this context, JUST is pushing the Home Secretary and every Chief Constable in the country including Police and Crime Commissioners to come forward and work together to develop a national action plan to tackle this growing cancer of Islamophobia in our society”