‘Muslim parents would not speak about Syria-bound youngsters’

By: | Published: July 11, 2016 9:10 PM

Lack of trust in the police means Muslim parents in the UK are reluctant to report any signs of radicalisation among their children, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found.

Lack of trust in the police means Muslim parents in the UK are reluctant to report any signs of radicalisation among their children, researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have found.
Researchers Dr Imran Awan from Birmingham City University and Dr Surinder Guru from the University of Birmingham conducted focus groups with Muslim parents in Birmingham (UK), exploring how they view the current counter-terrorism policing strategy employed by West Midlands Police in relation to the crisis in Syria.

“The data from the research study has found that Muslim community members are increasingly finding the partnership with the police service problematic,” said Dr Awan, Associate Professor of Criminology.

“The parents we spoke to were worried about the lack of support for Muslim families and they feared that anyone who had gone to Syria would be arrested and have their citizenship removed if they spoke out.”

The study established that many parents also found it difficult handling personal moral dilemmas which could see them alienating their own children by giving the police information about them.

“I don’t trust the police so I would not tell them”; “I would not call them because the police might just come knocking on my door and arrest my other children”; and “I would not report them to the police, because that’s not what parents do.”

“We need to educate them not to travel there in the first place. If I told the police they would then arrest me and my children.”

Participant responses also indicated influence by levels of historical mistrust between Muslim communities and the police.

“The central contradiction appears to be that parents are implicitly held to be responsible for the actions of their children by the police, yet the parents are adamant that the responsibility is not theirs and that they are relatively powerless,” said Dr Guru, Lecturer in Social Work.

“In circumstances where the community lacks trust and confidence in the police, community policing is likely to be ineffective because it is viewed with suspicion.”

As many as 800 people from the UK have travelled to support or fight for jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq, according to police. Around 300 have since returned.

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