Terrorist hotbeds ‘a fantasy’, says researcher
Research at The University of Manchester has found that Muslim terrorists are no more likely to come from towns and cities with large Muslim populations than anywhere else. Dr Ludi Simpson and Dr Nissa Finney from the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research analysed media reports to map the location of suspects charged under UK anti-terror laws. They found that against popular perception, the proportion of Muslims who have been charged under terrorism laws is no greater in areas with large Muslim populations – such as Newham or Bradford, than anywhere else. According to the research, the chance of a Muslim being charged with terrorism coming from an area like Bradford is 1 in 25,000.
That, says Dr Simpson, is a similar figure to places with smaller Muslim populations such as Leeds and Bournemouth, where there is a 1 in 24,000 chance. Dr Simpson said: -We looked at the 75 cases of Muslims charged under anti-terrorist legislation outlined in the media from 2004 to the present day, where we know the place of residence. -Their location is spread pretty evenly across all the places Muslims live and it’s not in any way restricted to areas where there are large Muslim populations.
- The CrownProsecution Service were reluctant to provide a more comprehensive list – which is why we have used media reports in the Guardian and BBC Online.
- But we’ve made an application under the Freedom of Information Act which will hopefully allow us to carry out this research in more detail.
-When politicians who want to tackle terrorism target ethnic minorities according to the area they live, it’s a very destructive thing and not based on reality.
-The authorities should focus on direct information about terrorist activities and not go by innuendo.
‘Branding a particular area as a hotbed of terrorism is immensely damaging and creates prejudice and fear. It’s just a fantasy.’