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Friday, 21 September, 2001, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Extra police to protect Muslims
Alvia mosque in Bolton, Greater Manchester was attacked on Monday
Muslim communities have felt threatened
Police forces across the UK are drafting in more officers and taking extra measures to protect Muslims from any violent reaction to the US terror attacks.

London and West Midlands police are among those forces opting for high-visibility patrols, particularly near vulnerable places such as mosques.

Anyone who thinks that what happened in the US is an excuse for acting against other religious groups will not be tolerated

West Midlands Police
Members of the Muslim community have welcomed the police action saying they fear being targeted following last week's attacks in the US.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey has called for a "building of bridges" with the Muslim community in Britain, not "walls".

Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir John Stevens has vowed to protect Muslims from any violent reaction to the terror campaign in the US.

However, he also said: "To any Islamic fundamentalists intent on inciting violence, we're watching you."

Plans abandoned

The heightened action comes as it has emerged that a meeting for UK fundamentalist Muslims planned for Sunday in Cardiff has been cancelled amid reports of death threats.

Anjem Choudary, of the Al Muhajiroun group said plans to bring together Muslims to discuss the US attacks had been abandoned.

East London mosque
Police patrols have increased outside many mosques
There have been an increase of attacks on Muslims and their property in the aftermath of the US terror attacks.

Three men have been arrested after an Afghan taxi driver was left paralysed after an attack in London.

In Greater Manchester a Bolton mosque damaged by a suspect blaze was among a number attacked.

In London 1,500 extra officers will be on the streets on Friday and during the weekend.

West Midlands police are distributing thousands of letters, leaflets and posters to advertise the action it is taking and reassuring the public.

Religious groups

A spokeswoman told BBC News Online that a telephone helpline had been set up and its police presence on the streets increased, particularly outside mosques.

She said: "Anyone who thinks that what happened in the US is an excuse for acting against other religious groups will not be tolerated.

Muslim women have been abused on the streets

Manzoor Moghal
Community leader
"We will use every power at our disposal to bring such people to justice."

In West Yorkshire, the force's assistant chief constable Steve Smith said: "We are taking extra precautions to safeguard premises and people who might fear a backlash from events in America."

He said that fortunately there was no evidence of such a backlash.

Positive response

In Leicester police have met this week with community leaders to discuss the fears of many Muslim people.

Manzoor Moghal, chairman of the Federation of Muslim Organisations, told BBC News Online that he was heartened by the police's positive response.

But he said the mood within the Muslim community was one of fear.

"Muslim women have been abused on the streets," he said.

The BBC's Barnie Choudhury speaks to
Dr Mohammed Naseem, Chairman of Birmingham Central Mosque

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War view



See also:

19 Sep 01 | Scotland
Scottish Muslims describe fears
19 Sep 01 | UK
UK to monitor Islamic group
19 Sep 01 | Scotland
Teacher helps trauma-hit pupils
19 Sep 01 | UK Politics
UK targets terrorist finances
17 Sep 01 | UK
UK police in attack manhunt
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