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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 June 2006, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK
Call to Muslims over police help
Yvonne Ridley is greeted by a participant at the Islam Awareness Day in Southampton
Yvonne Ridley was kidnapped in Afghanistan five years ago
An activist from the Respect Party has urged Muslims in east London to stop co-operating with police.

Yvonne Ridley, who became a Muslim after her arrest by the Taleban in Afghanistan five years ago, has accused the police of being heavy-handed.

She told a meeting of the Newham branch of the Respect Party that Muslims should "boycott" the Met Police.

Police said that to "develop increasing trust" communities and officers needed to talk to each other.

Ms Ridley's comments come in the wake of an anti-terror raid on a house in Forest Gate in which one man was shot.

Respect Councillor Hanif Abdulmuhit said he did not support Ms Ridley's stance.

This goes from asking the community copper for directions to passing the time of day with a beat officer
Yvonne Ridley
Respect activist

She told a meeting on Tuesday that Muslims should "boycott the police and refuse to co-operate with them in any way, shape or form".

She said: "From today until this terrorisation of the Muslim community is stopped immediately, I believe all Muslims should withdraw their support," she said.

"This goes from asking the community copper for directions to passing the time of day with a beat officer.

"We should enforce non-co-operation."

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Ms Ridley defended her comments.

"I called for zero tolerance with the Metropolitan Police, the force which has demonstrated time and time again its Islamophobic attitudes," she told BBC News.

Men held

Two brothers, Mohammed Abdulkahar, 23, and Abul Koyair, 20, were arrested in connection with an alleged terror plot after the raid on Friday.

Mr Kahar was shot in the shoulder during the raid but it is unclear how this happened.

Both the men, who deny the allegations, are still being held without charge at Paddington Green police station.

We're in a position where society has to trust us to make decisions based on sometimes less-than-perfect information
Commander Steve Allen

Commander Steve Allen, the Met's head of territorial police, told BBC News the community played a vital role in combating terrorism.

"What is more likely to develop increasing trust, what's more likely to deliver effective police and community responses to situations like this?

"Is this when we talk to each other, when we spend time trying to understand each other's perspective or is it when we call for complete disengagement?"

He said he could not comment on the raid because the investigation was ongoing.

'Undiluted madness'

But he added: "We're in a position where society has to trust us to make decisions based on sometimes less-than-perfect information.

"We have to recognise that the best interest of the community always lies in preventing acts of terrorism and we have to make those difficult decisions about when to act and when not to act."

Mr Abdulmuhit, who attended Tuesday's meeting said: "If someone, for example, comes to me now and says 'Hanif I'm sitting in my kitchen making a bomb to blow X up', I will go to the police.

"That's solid evidence I know for sure.

"We need to co-operate with the police," he said.

Shadow home secretary David Davis described Ms Ridley's comments as "sheer, undiluted madness".

"To not co-operate would be of no benefit to the Muslim community; no benefit to the police; and no benefit to the security of our country."

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