After Last Week’s Raid, Yvonne Ridley Says Muslims ‘Should Stop Helping Police’

LONDON – Yvonne Ridley, the former journalist who was kidnapped by the Taliban, has said that Muslims in east London should stop co-operating with the police after last week’s terror raid in which a man was shot. Miss Ridley, who is now an activist with George Galloway’s Respect Party, said the community was being “terrorised” by the Metropolitan Police and should end all contact with the force. But a senior officer said good relations on the ground were vital to ensuring difficult issues were handled in a sensitive way. Miss Ridley was held hostage by the Taliban during the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. She had snuck into the country to cover the war for Express Newspapers. She was released and later converted to Islam, and has been outspoken about the treatment of Muslims in Britain. “I don’t think the Muslim community should communicate with the police any more until they start showing some respect to the community,” she said. “There are Muslim community leaders – largely self-appointed – who regularly hold meetings with the police. “I’m afraid these leaders are confusing access to the top brass with influence. The reality is that they have neither. What we are witnessing now is the terrorisation of one community.” At a meeting of the Respect Party last night in the area of the raid, she suggested non-co-operation “goes from asking the community copper for directions to passing the time of the day with the beat officers”. But Commander Steve Allen, who heads territorial policing, said co-operation between communities was vital. “What is more likely to deliver effective police and community and responses to situations like this?” he asked. “Is it 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?”