A film prompted by the 7 July bombings is to be premiered in London on the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Shoot On Sight, with a cast including Brian Cox and Greta Scacchi, is a fictionalised account of the killing of an innocent young Muslim man by the Metropolitan police in the wake of the outrage. The real incident killed 52 people as well as the four bombers. Innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police in a later incident. Some of the families of those killed today expressed shock at the ” insensitive” timing of the premiere and said they knew nothing of what is the first movie based on the attacks. Jag Mundhra, the Indian Hindu director who was living in London at the time, said the aim of the film was not to offend. The story is told from the perspective of a Muslim police officer – played by Naseeruddin Shah – with a white wife and children who are well integrated into British society until “something happens and there is this ripple effect in communities that were otherwise co-existing”. It stemmed from Mundhra’s personal experience of the consequences of the 7 July attacks. “I couldn’t stop a taxi after the bombings because of the way I looked,” he said. “Then I started noticing that on television suddenly Scotland Yard was represented by a Muslim police officer [Tarique Ghaffur]. I knew it was because the way they wanted to tell the Muslim community ‘look, we have a Muslim police officer’. “Then I could see that if I sat on an Underground train everyone looked at you and moved away. I could feel the fear.” The aim of the film was to address these issues. “I wanted to see the point of view of a shooter who had to pull the trigger and shot the wrong guy. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Louise Jury, in Cannes, and Lucy Hanbury report.
Scotland Yard has drawn up plans for a “safety foundation” which would identify extremists within Muslim communities across the UK and which could be up and running within six months. The project is the brainchild of Tarique Ghaffur, Britain’s most senior Muslim officer, who is an assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard. He suggests the foundation will identify and combat extremism and act as a thinktank analysing “the dynamics of disaffection”. The foundation would encourage greater Muslim “self-reporting” of potential terrorists and remove what Mr Ghaffur calls “the vulnerabilities around religious institutions”. It would also ask countries such as Pakistan to monitor young British Muslims travelling in groups. One aim would to be to “debrief some of these young people academically or theologically”.