Theresa May and the Mystery of the Missing Pledge About Hate Crimes Against Muslims

Mystery

Last Monday (23rd March 2015), the Home Secretary, Theresa May, delivered an important speech outlining the government’s counter-extremism strategy.

The full speech contained quite a few passages I would normally take issue with, but it also contained a crucially important sentence that was very welcome news indeed. The Home Secretary said:

“We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crime.”

This is something that many Muslim organisations including MEND and the Muslim Council of Britain have been calling for, for a number of years now in order that we might obtain an accurate picture of what is happening across the country and develop a more comprehensive strategy to tackle anti-Muslim prejudice.

But wait…what is this? A look at the same speech today finds that the passage above no longer appears in the speech on the official government website. How very bizarre and indeed how unsettling. What could be the explanation?

I have written to the Home Secretary as follows:

Dear Home Secretary,

I read the transcript of your speech “A Stronger Britain, Built On Our Values” as it appeared on the official government website (https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/a-stronger-britain-built-on-our-values) last week with great interest.

I was particularly impressed by the following passage in your speech:

“We will require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crime.”

Muslim communities have long been asking to be treated equally in respect of hate crimes. Just as police forces currently record anti-semitic hate crimes as a separate category, we have looked to our government to ensure that the police also record anti-Muslim hate crimes too so that we can have an accurate picture of what is happening in our communities across our country where we are hearing reports of regular attacks against Muslim individuals and on our places of worship and even on our cemeteries.

You can imagine my disappointment today when I re-read your speech and found that your commitment to require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes no longer appeared there.

This disappearance is very puzzling as this passage certainly appeared in your speech as published on the government website just last week.

Home Secretary, in your speech, you said that your government’s counter-extremism strategy “aims to tackle the whole spectrum of extremism, violent and non-violent, ideological and non-ideological, Islamist and neo-Nazi – hate and fear in all their forms.”

By seemingly back-tracking on the commitment to require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes I am afraid many will quite rightly wonder just how serious the government really is about tackling “the whole spectrum” of hate and fear.

I hope you will take this opportunity to re-assure British Muslims that you consider anti-Muslim crimes to be just as unacceptable as anti-semitic crimes and that police forces will indeed now be required to keep accurate records of all such incidents.

Yours faithfully,
Inayat Bunglawala
Muslims4UK
http://www.muslims4uk.org

Update (2nd April 2015): I have managed to get hold of a copy of the original speech as delivered by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, and as I mentioned in the above blog post the promise to “require police forces to record anti-Muslim crimes as well as anti-Semitic crimes” does indeed appear in the speech on page 6. The paragraph in which that promise occurs and two subsequent paragraphs have all been removed from the version of the speech that is now on the Home Office website, so it does look like this issue could well be part of an ongoing internal policy debate between the civil service, the Tories and the Lib-Dems.

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