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Cop clashes with anti-racist group over TV comments

But Chief Constable Bettison has claimed his words were taken out of context

An anti-racist group today accused a top cop of driving a wedge between Muslim communities and the authorities, after the senior policeman compared radicalised young Muslims to a disease.

Speaking on the BBC programme Generation Jihad, last night Yorkshire’s chief constable Norman Bettison said that “would-be Jihadis” were like the far right British National Party and that “it will take a generation of treatment to prevent the infection spreading.”

Bettison’s association between Muslim extremists and a virus was one of the remarks attacked today as “deeply problematic.”

Anti-racist organisation JUST West Yorkshire also criticised Bettison for implying that the Muslim community were also “wilfully hiding known extremists in their midst.”

The chief officer told the BBC that Muslims need “to work much more closely with the police to provide information and help identify would-be jihadis.”

However in an open letter to Bettison, Ratna Lachman the director of JUST West Yorkshire, said: “Trust and confidence in the community is at an all time low, and Mr Bettison’s statements will only alienate the very community the government says it is seeking to win the hearts and minds of.”

Lachman added: “Mr Bettison’s extreme comments send a chilling message to the Muslim community that they are going to be subject to continued surveillance, policing and intelligence operations for the next generation.”

It is not the first time that Bettison has courted controversy. In 2007 he made a speech referring to Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian mistakenly shot dead by police, in which he said that a “health and safety Taliban’ were stopping police doing their jobs.

Generation Jihad was screened on 8th February, but the response today from the anti-racist group indicate that shockwaves from the programme are still going through the local West Yorkshire community.

Bettison defended himself today, accusing his detractors of spreading “inaccurate and damaging” claims about him.

In statement released today he said: “JUST’s claims are basically twisting the meaning of my words which are actually misquoted.

“I was asked if the Muslim community could do more. My response was that the community as a whole could do more to address the issues of violent extremism, and the Muslim community could do more in addressing the issues involved in AQ inspired extremism.

“I said NOTHING about a concern of non-cooperation. That’s because I don’t have that concern. The Muslim communities of West Yorkshire are generally appalled by the idea of violence and would generally help the police to deal with anyone in their midst who is committing a criminal offence.”

By Lester Holloway

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One Response

  1. Would he dare say white people who vote BNP as a disease?

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