Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Independent has published statements from the Labour leadership contenders on addressing race inequality in the UK.

Jeremy Corbyn, the favourite to win the Labour leadership race, having secured support from a number of trade unions, promised that confronting racism in Britain would be one of his “top priorities.”

Corbyn suggested that progress on race equality has been stunted, referring to theBritish Social Attitudes (BSA) survey last year which showed that 1 in 3 people in the UK admit to being ‘very’ or ‘a little’ racially prejudiced. Corbyn warned that “years of immigrant bashing and Islamophobia is taking a toll.”

Research from Show Racism the Red Card earlier this year showed that younger generations are displaying worrying attitudes towards Muslims, immigrants and asylum seekers with 60% of the children surveyed believing that “asylum seekers and immigrants are stealing our jobs” and35% agreeing or partly agreeing that “Muslims are taking over our country.”

Corbyn also drew attention to a report by the Runnymede Trust this week, which warned that minority ethnic communities would be hit the hardest by the Conservatives’ budget cuts, arguing proposals were “plunging millions into poverty and running the risk of widening Britain’s racial divide.”

Corbyn concluded: “Britain needs a politics which unifies our country, an economy that provides decent jobs, homes and education for all, and a society where there is no place for racism.”

Yvette Cooper pledged to “more than double the number of BAME MPs in a Labour majority Parliament” if elected leader.

The General Election this year brought 41 BME MPs into the House of Commons, this is the highest figure in history. However, it still only equates to 6.3% compared to theBME population in the UK which stands at 14%.

Cooper stated that she wanted to “oversee a taskforce engaging with BAME MPs, councillors, NEC members and local Party activists, to ensure a step change in support for BAME candidates and activists.”

Cooper also spoke of her work as Shadow Home Secretary campaigning for more diversity in Britain’s police forces. She pledged to “place a legal requirement on police forces to increase diversity” and “change the law to allow New York-style “affirmative action” in recruitment policies.”

This week, the Daily Mirror reported that four UK police forces still do not have any officers from black backgrounds. Only 11% of officers working for the police force in the most ethnically diverse city in the UK, London, are from BME backgrounds, whereas 55% of the capital’s population belong to an ethnic minority.

Andy Burnham argued that Labour, historically the party of choice for ethnic minorities, took votes from BME communities for granted “without a meaningful conversation about what we can do in return.”

“We need to reach out to all people who have lost their trust in us and no longer see Labour as being on their side,” he said.

The think-tank British Future reported after the 2015 General Election that the Conservative party had increased their share of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) vote from 16% in 2010’s General Election, to 33% in the most recent election. However, data from the authoritative British Election Study and YouGov polling data, both of whose samples are larger than the online poll conducted for British Future, suggests that claims the Tories are making significant inroads into BME voters are premature. The Conservatives are said to fare better among British Asian voters from Sikh and Hindu backgrounds than Muslim, Black or Mixed race voters. Yesterday, results from a British Election Study survey of 30,027 people revealed that Labour received 72 per cent of the Muslim vote.

Since winning this year’s general election, the Conservatives, who received 15% of Muslim votes, are likely to have pushed Muslim voters even further away with the introduction of legislation that further curtails Muslim civil liberties and with the PM accusing British Muslims of “quietly condoning” extremists.

Burnham goes on to discuss BME representation in Westminster vowing to ensure “half the places on Labour shortlists go to BAME people in parliamentary constituencies where over 50 per cent of the voters are BAME.”

Lastly, Liz Kendall argued that the Labour Party “should be asking the same hard questions about the performance of public services – like health – that we continue to ask of the police on stop and search.”

“We must stand up and be counted when anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, or any form of racism rears its ugly head,” she said.

“And we shouldn’t sell stupid mugs,” referring to the controversial ‘controls on immigration’ mugs sold on the party’s online store during the 2015 general election.

Kendall promised BME communities that if elected leader she would care for Britain’s “finances with the same diligence anybody would apply to their own,” have “the same ambitions for your children as you do” and answer “the injustices in our society with actions in government.”

Tellingly, Kendall also last week spoke against Labour’s support for a backbench motion calling for recognition of Palestinian statehood saying, it was not the “right thing to do.”

The results of the leadership election will be announced on 12 September 2015.

The Huffington Post and al-Arabiya News report on an apology by the managing editor of the Mail on Sunday for any “offence caused” after the paper headlined an article claiming that a “Muslim gang”  was behind an attack on immigration enforcement vehicles without presenting any evidence to substantiate the claim.

The original article in the Mail on Sunday last week was titled “Welcome to Shadwell: Muslim gang sabotages immigration-raid van” and went onto claim that a “gang of Muslim youths” had launched an attack on vans being used in an immigration raid in east London.

The premise for the headline appears to be based on two glib observations; the opinion of a witness who said he thought the perpetrators were “local Muslim hoodies” and data from the 2011 census which, according to the Mail on Sunday, points to “more than half the population of Shadwell [being] Muslim”.

The Mail on Sunday’s claim that the crime was initiated by Muslims appears to be entirely based on the statement of one bystander who stated “‘I think they were local Muslim hoodies just doing a prank”.

The article also references tweets posted by individuals with Muslim sounding names mocking the incident as “evidence” that “Muslims” were behind the incident.

The author of the article also went on to scapegoat the entire Muslim population of Shadwell by introducing the Prime Minster, David Cameron’s speech on extremism and suggesting that the refusal of local residents to come to the assistance of the immigration officers was in some way linked to the PM’s “appeal for support from the Muslim community in the effort to combat extremism”.

Quite what the PM’s speech has to do with an immigration raid in east London and the frosty reception experienced by immigration officials is unclear. Is any occasion of Muslims allegedly behaving badly now to be viewed through the prism of “extremism”?

Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary General of the MCB, complained to the newspaper that the article was Islamophobic prompting a reply from the managing editor who wrote back to apologise for any offence caused.

John Wellington, the Mail on Sunday’s managing editor wrote to Mr Versi explaining “we intended no disrespect to the Muslim religion and apologize if you were offended by the article.” However, Wellington denies that the Mail on Sunday’s article was “inaccurate or misleading” claiming that “The immigration enforcement agencies appear to have been targeted because the attackers considered themselves to be, in some way, defending their community and the community is largely Bangladeshi and largely Muslim.”

There is no evidence cited in support of the claim that the perpetrators were Muslim or that a sense of communal grievance was a probable motive for any suspected aberrant behaviour.

You can read our letter to the Independent Press Standards Organisation about the Mail on Sunday article and our complaint about a breach of the clause on accuracy, here.

The Judicial Diversity Statistics for 2015 published today by the Ministry of Defence reveals a number of key findings about female and BME representation in the judicial system.

The report reveals that the number of female judges in the courts has increased by 0.7% between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015 from 24.5% to 25.2%. Female judges now account for just over a quarter of judges in the UK courts.

The report revealed a growing number of younger females were becoming judges with a higher number of judges below the age of 40 being of female background (53.3%). In comparison, 44% of judges between the ages of 40-49 are female, 30% of judges between the age of 50-59 are female and 13% judges aged over 60 are female.

Furthermore, the percentage of female judges in the court has gradually increased over the last 5 years though absolute figures have decreased. Female judges now account for 817 out of 3238 (25.2%) compared to 824 out of 3694 (22.3%) in 2011.

With the Judicial Office collecting ethnicity data on all new appointments from May 2009, figures point to a small increase of 1.7% in the percentage of judges where ethnicity is known from 81.3% in 2012 to 83% in 2015.

Out of the 2686 judges whose ethnicity is known 159 (5.9%) declared their background as Black or Minority Ethnic (BME). The figure below shows the representation of BME judges across different judicial appointments from Heads of Division to Deputy District Judges:

Chart 1

The age distribution of judges from BME backgrounds shows many more than half are aged 49 and under. The report notes that the highest percentage of BME court judges were aged between 40 and 49; 11.3% of the judges in this age bracket identifying themselves as BME. In comparison, only 2.5% of the judges aged 60 and over were from BME backgrounds.

Chart2

The percentage of court judges that identified themselves as BME has remained relatively constant over the years, with only a modest increase from 5.1% in 2011 to 5.9% in 2015.

Chart3

At the tribunal level, the number of female judges has increased by 0.8% from 43% in 2014 to 43.8% in 2015.

The percentage of female judges in the tribunals has gradually increased over the last 4 years with 812 out of 2030 (40%) tribunal judges being female in 2012 compared with 878 out of 2004 (43.8%) in 2015.

The report reveals an increase of 0.4% in the percentage of tribunal judges whose ethnicity is known, from 92.8% in 2012 to 93.2% in 2015. Out of the 1868 judges whose ethnicity was known 177 (9.5%) identified as Black or Minority Ethnic (BME).

The highest percentage of BME tribunal judges were under the age of 40 (14.8%). In comparison, 13% were between the age of 40 and 49, 11% were aged between 50 and 59 and 6% were aged 60 and above.

Chart4

The percentage of tribunal judges that identified themselves as BME has remained relatively constant over the last 4 years, with 9.5% of tribunal judges declaring their ethnicity as BME in both 2012 and 2015.

Chart5

Other main findings in the Ministry of Justice report are:

  • The overall percentage of female judges has increased in both the courts and tribunals from 1 April 2014 to 1 April 2015 from 24.5% to 25.2% in courts and 43.0% to 43.8% in tribunals.
  • The percentage of female High Court Judges and Circuit Judges has increased between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015, from 17.9% to 19.8% and 20.5% to 22.8% respectively.
  • More than half of all judges under 40 are female (55%).
  • The overall percentage of judges that identify as BME has remained at 7%.
  • 12% of all judges under 50 that declared their ethnicity identify as BME.

The issue of BME representation in the criminal justice system has cropped up recently in the remarks of both the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, and the President of the Supreme Court, Lord Neuberger.

Sir Bernard referred to the accusations of the police force being “institutionally racist” saying the allegations had “some justification” because disproportionate stops against BME people persist without explanation.

Lord Neuberger, in a speech about Fairness in the Courts delivered to the Criminal Justice Alliance in April, addressed the issue of ‘unconscious bias’ in the judiciary and the need to guard against ‘unknown unknowns’ if justice is to be, and is seen to be, blindly applied. He said, “Judges have to show and have to be seen to show, respect for everybody equally, and that requires an understanding of different cultural and social habits. It is necessary to have some understanding as to how people from different cultural, social, religious or other backgrounds think and behave and how they expect others to behave. Well-known examples include how some religions consider it inappropriate to take the oath, how some people consider it rude to look other people in the eye, how some women find it inappropriate to appear in public with their face uncovered, and how some people deem it inappropriate to confront others or to be confronted – for instance with an outright denial.”

He added, “[judges] must not use the bewilderingly fast changes in society as an excuse for not doing our best to ensure that the courts are as fair as they can be and are seen to be as fair as they can be.”

The figures released by the Ministry of Justice show the extent to which “people from different cultural, social, religious or other backgrounds” remain unrepresented in the judiciary at different levels and the degree to which guarding against ‘unconscious bias’ in the judiciary remains a challenge for the system.

The Bolton News reports on a group of Muslim volunteers who are giving up their time this week to deliver food and water to people in need in their city.

Dozens of volunteers will be making free packed lunches to feed youngsters during the school holidays. Four young Muslim males who are behind the initiative have already delivered 1500 bottles of water to elderly residents across the city last week after 18,000 homes had their water supply cut.

Their actions were hailed by leaders in the town as an example of Bolton’s great community spirit.

The Bishop of Bolton Chris Edmondson said: “An idea like that, where these young Muslim men have distributed water to vulnerable people across Bolton is a brilliant example of community cohesion. This initiative means that youngsters across Bolton and their families will have a very different summer to what they might have experienced. I encourage anyone who can to can get down and volunteer each morning or make a donation.”

Leader of Bolton Council Councillor Cliff Morris said: “These people are our true unsung heroes. They do these things without seeking any rewards. We have previously won the award for being the friendliest town in Britain and that is because of people like this.”

Rizwan Gharda, 25, Imran Gharda, 35, Maqsood Amenjee, 36, and Raheel Karim, 32, all volunteer for the Al-Suffa Homeless Outreach charity in Bolton and regularly deliver food to homeless people in the town. Rizwan Gharda said: “We have friends at the Zakariyya Mosque in Daubhill and I knew that they had lots of bottled water that a charity had recently donated. So I called them and they said we could have as much as we wanted.”

The group of four delivered water to vulnerable people in a number of locations around the city labouring till midnight several days in the last week. Mr Gharda hopes the group’s efforts will bring Bolton’s communities and cultures together. He added: “We don’t look at race, religion or culture. We just want to help anyone that we can.”

The group have been singled out for praise on social media with one local resident, Macenzie Campbell, posting a comment: “My whole estate was out of water. Nobody could shower, make a brew or use the toilet. Then this van pulled up and two men jumped out with crates of water. Nobody else helped but these guys.”

The local paper highlights other initiatives in the city that is being supported by a volunteer army including the Urban Outreach project which aims to deliver approximately 30,000 meals during the six-week holiday to help families who usually rely on free school meals. The Bolton Lunches project is being expanded this year, following on from last year’s scheme, which saw about 600 lunches delivered to families each day.

The news follows on from a number of projects in the last month that were organised by Muslims to help the most vulnerable people across the country. The Ramadan Tent Project, an initiative run by Muslim students at The School of Oriental and African Studies in London, invited members of the public, especially homeless people, to break fast with them each day during the month of Ramadan. Muslim volunteers from the Teesside branch of the Islamic Diversity Centre visited children affected by illness at James Cook University Hospital dressing up as superheroes as part of their Eid celebrations. Furthermore, a number of Muslim charities including the Myriad Foundation are regularly involved in initiatives, such as visiting the sick in hospitals, feeding the homeless and visiting the elderly and, more recently, Share Ramadan, as a means to give back to their local communities in Manchester.

The volunteering and charitable endeavours of British Muslims across the country evinces a “sense of belonging” that speechwriters at Number 10 would be well advised to take note of.

The Daily Mail reports on the life sentence passed on a “racist thug” who slashed a Turkish shopkeeper’s neck with a kitchen knife last year.

Andrew Jefferson, 53, attacked Hilmi Uludag in his shop in Paddington shouting at him “you f*****g foreigners, coming to the UK to poison the British people” before stabbing him on 18 October last year.

Southwark Crown Court was told Mr Uludag was “lucky to survive” after the attack left him with visible slash marks to his throat that severed nerves in his face, requiring 12 stitches, along with cuts to his chin.

Mr Jefferson was found guilty of attempted murder in March this year after admitting to wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Judge Martin Beddoe sentenced Mr Jefferson, currently held in a secure mental health facility, to life imprisonment and ordered he serve at least 10 years.

Turkish national Mr Uludag had sold Mr Jefferson two cans of beer between 10:30pm and 11pm before the vicious assault took place. During the trial Mr Uludag said: “He said nothing, no words at all. He didn’t even say a word, he took the bag he was just looking at me, not even one word and he just walked out.”

It was reported that Mr Jefferson was suffering from “paranoid delusional psychosis”, which caused him to think the beer that was sold to him was poisoned. Two hours later he returned to the shop with a small black handled kitchen knife under his jumper, walked behind the counter and attacked Uludag.

Mr Uludag told the jury: “That is the time I realise this guy’s serious, he wants to kill me, he wanted to take my head off. I was screaming, I was saying I have been stabbed, I have been stabbed”.

Judge Beddoe told Mr Jefferson: “At about 30 minutes after midnight in the morning of October 18 last year you walked into the Padiciya Wine shop on London Street, W2, armed with a knife. As is clear from the CCTV that was shown to the jury, you arrived purposefully at the premises, you walked purposefully around the counter and you tried to stab your victim in the throat. You made it clear to him before you struck that you were intending to kill him.”

The judge noted that the slashes to the victim’s throat were just “millimetres away from probably causing his death” and said: “In short yours was a horrific, unprovoked attack on a man who had done nothing wrong.”

Detective Constable Graham Hillsdon of Westminster CID said: “The men showed extreme bravery by tackling the knifeman while their colleague called the police, and holding him until officers arrived minutes later. If it wasn’t for these men, Jefferson may have gone on to kill or seriously injure someone else that night.”

There has been a reported rise in anti-Muslim hate crime with The Sunday Times reporting a 15% increase in Islamophobic hate crime over the last two years in a number of cities in the UK. Figures disclosed under FOI showed that “17,605 racially and religiously aggravated harassment crimes” were recorded by police in 2014, “up from 15,249 in 2012″. However, this does not provide an accurate depiction of the scale of racial and religious hate crimes because of vast under-reporting and the classification of anti-Muslim hate crime that sees the offences captured as ‘race hate crimes’ or ‘religious hate crimes’ and not, more accurately, as “Islamophobic” hate crimes. A number of police forces in England and Wales have committed to recording Islamophobia as a separate category of hate crime, alongside the Metropolitan Police in London, such as West Midlands police force and Greater Manchester police.

In our manifesto for the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in 2012 we proposed a pledge for PCCs to introduce the recording of Islamophobia as a separate category of crime if elected. The Home Secretary earlier this year alluded to the introduction of recording Islamophobia by police forces in England and Wales though the measure has not since surfaced in subsequent political speeches or statements.

BBC News and the Middle East Eye report on developments in the investigation into the closure of Muslim bank accounts by banking giant HSBC amid accusations that the United Arab Emirates may be behind the bank’s “risk appetite” claims.

The investigation is to be aired in a radio programme on BBC Radio 4 tonight (at 8pm) titled, “HSBC, Muslims, and Me”.

The investigation led by Peter Oborne and BBC journalist Anna Meisel, is significant given the role the HSBC issue played in the decision taken by Oborne to quit his post as chief political commentator at the Daily Telegraph.

Yesterday Peter Oborne, in the Middle East Eye, reported that the UAE listed the Cordoba Foundation, a UK based organisation that works to improve dialogue between Islam and the West, as having links to terrorism on a database used by HSBC. The Cordoba Foundation had its bank accounts closed last July, as did its chief executive Anas al-Tikriti along with a number of other British Muslims, such as Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque.

Oborne wrote that when he logged on to World-Check, a website used by 49 of the world’s 50 largest banks to help them make risk assessments relating to new or existing bank accounts, the Cordoba Foundation was listed as a “terrorist” organisation by the cabinet of the UAE, along with Finsbury Park Mosque. On closer examination of the website, Oborne notes that blogs and news agencies, such as Muslim Brotherhood Watch and the UAE’s official news agency, WAM, which has close links to the UAE government, were used as sources to corroborate the “terrorist” claims.

However, Mr Kozbar said he was shocked that World-Check had listed his mosque as a terrorist organisation, especially since the new management board which had been running the mosque for 10 years had gained approval from the police for turning its fortunes around. Furthermore, he stated that the bank did not contact him or the mosque committee before their accounts were closed but explained later that “the provision of banking services… now falls outside of our risk appetite”. Similarly, UBS and NatWest were also found to have closed accounts or blocked or delayed funds to or transfers from accounts held by UK based charities and international non-governmental organisations, without offering detailed explanations as to why banking services were being restricted or revoked.

The news first came to light last year following Cordoba Foundation’s bank account closures when Mr al-Tikriti suggested that the UAE, which holds a significant stake in HSBC, may have influenced the bank’s decision to close several accounts owned by him and his family after the UAE listed the Foundation as a “terrorist” organisation alongside groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Oborne claims that the bank account closures were linked to the British government’s review of the Muslim Brotherhood, following claims that the review was announced at the behest of the governments of the UAE and Saudi Arabia. BBC News reports that one senior government official said: “There is a definite connection between the bank account closures and the review of the Brotherhood.”

Oborne observes the purported connection between the review and HSBC’s actions noting that just three months after the government’s announced review, the bank sent letters to well-known British Muslim organisations and individuals informing them of their accounts being closed.

The Cordoba Foundation’s chief executive, Anas Al Tikriti, said he found it “quite incredible” that the UAE could designate the Cordoba Foundation as a “terrorist” organisation, especially as it operates “according to British company and financial laws.”

He demanded that “secretive profit-making entities such as WorldCheck be investigated, their sources exposed and the information they provide on customers be openly published and allowed to be challenged.”

Following the actions of HSBC in closing the bank accounts of a number of prominent individuals and organisations, including the Ummah Welfare Trust, they were accused of “shamelessly profiling” their customers. Complaints by Muslim charities to the regulator, the Charities Commission, have not been heeded with the regulator stating the bank’s actions are an independent business decision and outside the remit of the regulator. The disparity in the Commission’s obligations to improve transparency and operations in the charity sector has not been lost on Muslim charities who fear the impact of the loss of banking services on their ability to provide full transparency over donations and transfers. Ironically, the Charities Commission were recently given new powers to freeze bank accounts to tackle “the menace of extremism”. Given the tenuous grounds on which Muslim charities find themselves accused of “terrorism financing” and the sources or political origins of such claims, the use of the new powers is likely to provoke some concern.

The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) has highlighted these claims arguing cases of charities supporting extremism or terrorism related activities were being exaggerated and that the “risk had been overstated by some interested parties.”

The issue of “interested parties” is particularly significant given efforts that look to be exerted by “interested parties” to deliberately misrepresent or tarnish the reputation of Muslim Brotherhood linked organisations.

Just recently The Times published a front page article, “Unwitting students fund Islamist projects with their rent payments,” which relied primarily on the Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch’s Steven Merley as its source for information on the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK.

Merley runs the Global Muslim Brotherhood Watch website and is also an “expert” on the MB at the Hudson Institute. The Hudson Institute includes among its board members, the “sugar mama of anti-Muslim hate”, Nina Rosenwald and has hosted the likes of Douglas Murray and Geert Wilders. The Times does not disclose Merley’s links to the Hudson Institute merely portraying him as “a leading authority on the global Brotherhood movement”.

Oborne’s investigation and his commitment to tell the story behind the HSBC bank account closures exposes the shady actors and nefarious influences impacting on British Muslim lives.

There have been several reports in the papers on the number of young children who have been referred for “de-radicalisation” under the Government’s controversial “Channel programme”.

Data released under Freedom of Information presents a startling picture of the fate of young Muslims who are among those singled out under provisions that require referral on the basis of suspicion a young person may be “vulnerable to radicalisation”.

The News Guardian publishes details of referrals from April 2012 to June 2014 which shows a total of 834 under 18-year-olds were reported to Channel with around one in ten – 84 cases – being children under the age of 12, as shown by data from the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

The FOI request submitted by the Press Association found “Overall, 2,335 individuals across all age groups have been earmarked for possible intervention by the de-radicalisation scheme in two and a quarter years, the figures show.”

The figures show an almost 50% rise in the number of referrals from 2012/2013 (290 cases) to 2013-2014 (423) figures.

An FOI submitted by The Independent last year looking at the number of referrals between April 2013 and March 2014 found that 153 children under 11, 690 children aged 12-15, and 554 aged 16-17 had been referred to Channel since 2007. A further 2,196 adults have also been assessed.

“The total of 940 so far in 2013-14 marks an increase of just over a quarter on 748 cases in 2012-13”, according to the Indy’s FOI suggesting a year on year increase has been observed between 2012-2013 and 2013-2014.

The Times meanwhile reports that “More than 30 children in the past year, the equivalent of a child every fortnight, have been subjected to judicial orders because they are at risk of indoctrination or are already deemed extremist”.

The paper notes that the courts have been intervening by making children wards of court and seizing their passports to prevent them from travelling abroad. In other measures, courts have been issuing interim care orders “against children who are feared to be at risk of indoctrination by their families.”

According to the figures released by the NPCC, “one in five cases require “supportive interventions.” That is, in 80% of the cases, the referrals were rejected.

In news reported last week, a teenager was said to have been referred to the Channel programme for exhibiting pro-Palestinian material, a campaigning leaflet and a Free Palestine badge, and for asking whether produce sold in the school canteen had been sourced from the Occupied Territories.

The Independent reports that a child as young as three years old was referred under Channel for being “a member of a family group that had been showing suspect behaviour.”

With the Prevent duty becoming a statutory requirement, it is highly likely that the rate of referral will increase as teachers, among other sectors on whom the duty is imposed, refer individuals for “suspect behaviour”. And with the number of referrals that are not taken forward as requiring “supportive interventions”, 80% in the figures just released, the impact on young children of being singled out for expressing views that ought to find safe expression in classrooms committed to cultivating critical thinking skills cannot be underestimated.

Nor can the tone of the policy debate be misjudged with the Mayor of London and now MP for Harrow, Boris Johnson, last year arguing in favour of vast encroachments on the right to privacy and family life by suggesting some Muslims children were being “taught crazy stuff” by their parents and that they in turn, should be prosecuted for child abuse and their children taken into care.

There have already been cases of schoolchildren being handed out questionnaires asking leading questions about their attitudes towards religious beliefs. While teaching unions have been quick to condemn a policy that turns teachers and teaching institutions into an arm of the “security services,” the stigmatisation of young Muslims by a programme designed for early intervention but whose practice looks to be pretty arbitrary is likely to prove counter-productive.

Christine Blower, leader of the National Union of Teachers speaking as the Prevent came into effect on 1 July said the policy was already cause of “significant nervousness and confusion among teachers” and that it would “close down” classroom debates which could encourage democracy and human rights.

This from a government that wants to put teaching “fundamental British values” ie democracy and human rights, at the heart of the teaching curriculum.

Analysis from the Runnymede Trust has found that ethnic minorities are “twice as likely” to be negatively affected by the Conservative’s budget plan than their white counterparts, the Guardian reports.

As many as four million people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups could see their wages fall, with British Muslims being one of the worst affected communities, according to data compiled by the race equality think-tank.

Runnymede’s report has factored in the increase to the National Living Wage unveiled by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, three weeks ago. It will start at £7.20 and rise to £9 an hour by 2020. This increase was thought to be “politically astute for wrongfooting Labour,” the Guardian argues, but the trust’s analysis shows that in reality BME groups will still become poorer due to cuts to tax credits and other benefit payments hitting ethnic minority communities disproportionately hard.

The director of Runnymede Trust, Omar Khan, said: “Black and minority ethnic people are more likely to be disadvantaged by the budget. While ethnic minorities form around 11% of households and 14% of the UK population, we expect them to be over 15% of households and around 25% of individuals worst affected by the budget – because of their younger age, higher child poverty, lower wages, fewer pensioners and greater part-time working.”

The study estimates that more than 4 million BME people or 1.25 million households are likely to be poorer as a result of the Conservative party’s budget.

The Guardian reports that the Trust has urged the government to perform an official audit of the budget’s effect on racial equality, known as an “equalities impact assessment,” after the Treasury failed to confirm or deny whether such an assessment of the 2015 budget had already taken place when asked.

The report states the Conservatives’ budget polices will intensify racial inequality, regardless of whether or not that was the intention.

“The question isn’t whether government deliberately makes BME [black and minority ethnic] people worse off, but rather whether the effects of policies, directly or indirectly, increase racial inequality in reality,” the report states.

Runnymede have found that tax credit cuts, restrictions to child benefit and dropping the benefits cap will all effect BME groups to a larger degree than white groups.

Britons of Bangladeshi and Pakistani background are considerably poorer than other groups and five times more likely to be given top-up payments, in the form of tax credits, than their white counterparts.

Bangladeshi men are seven times more likely to have a part-time job than white men, with more than one in three Bangladeshi men engaged in part-time work, compared with 9% of Indian men, 10% of black Caribbean men, 12% of black African men and 18% of Pakistani men.

Runnymede’s study found that around 50% of Bangladeshis, approximately 225,000 people, will lose £1,000 or more of their household income under the budget plans.

Khan explains: “We anticipate up to half of Bangladeshi and Pakistani households will be worse off – around 750,000 individuals in just under 200,000 households. The figure will be a bit lower proportionally for black African households, but no fewer than 300,000 individuals and 100,000 households will be negatively affected.”

The report warns that child poverty within BME communities is likely to increase after the Conservative budget plans are implemented.

“Black and minority ethnic households are more likely to be living in poverty. This is particularly notable for BME children, with nearly 50% of Pakistani children and over 40% of Bangladeshi children living in poverty, and all BME groups having higher poverty rates than white British children,” according to the report.

Recent research shows that ethnic minorities already face the highest levels of youth unemployment in the UK and British Muslims face the worst job discrimination of all religious and non-religious groups in the British labour market. From Runnymede’s analysis, it looks as if the Conservatives’ budget plan will keep BME communities at an economic disadvantage by reinforcing their low socio-economic status.

With Runnymede’s study showing that Bangladeshis and Pakistanis are the poorest ethnic groups and at least half of Bangladeshis risk losing £1,000, it is clear Muslims households will be hit extremely hard by the proposed budget cuts.

PM David Cameron, in his counter-extremism speech in Birmingham last week failed to discuss in any depth the role inequality and economic exclusion plays in radicalisation, focusing largely on young Muslims’ exposure to extremist ideologies. However, signalling his “five year plan” to tackle “Islamist extremism” Cameron announced the appointment of Louise Casey to lead a review into improving BME integration and opportunity. The PM wants “a comprehensive review into boosting opportunity and integration to bring Britain together as one nation.”

Civil Service World reports that Casey will address issues like improving English language skills in BME communities and how to enhance employment outcomes, particularly for Muslim women, who suffer higher rates of economic inactivity compared to other groups. According to Cameron, the work will feed into the introduction of a new “Cohesive Communities Programme” next year.

If it is true, it would be quite an embarrassment for the Government to speak on the one hand about improving economic opportunities for Muslim communities while on the other hand, failing to conduct an equalities impact assessment on current policies to ensure policy effects did not have disproportionately negative impact on particular groups. It would also suggest that the Government, having once failed to take any consideration of the impact of budget cuts on one section of society, women, have repeated the mistake by failing to account for the budget’s effect on another section of society, the UK’s minority communities.

The Daily Mirror reports that four UK police forces do not have any officers from black backgrounds despite targets set after the Macpherson report, over a decade ago, to address the problem of “institutional racism”.

The police forces of Cheshire, Durham, North Yorkshire and Dyfed-Powys reveal low numbers of officers from Asian, Chinese and mixed race backgrounds, but no black African or black Caribbean officers in their “5,692-strong ranks,” the Mirror notes.

In addition, those four forces have seen their total number of officers from minority ethnic backgrounds fall over the last year, due to a lack of recruitment following resignations.

The Mirror reports: “Excluding London, which had a rise in ethnic minority officers, non-white policemen and women totals fell by 56 in the past year.”

11% of the Metropolitan Police belong to BME backgrounds, which is still an inadequate representation of the capital’s population where 55% belong to an ethnic minority.

The Daily Mirror report that the majority of the 1,436 officers from black backgrounds in England and Wales are employed by just two police forces; the Metropolitan Police in London or West Midlands Police.

A number of forces employ less than five officers from black backgrounds – Gloucestershire and Wiltshire have 4, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk have 3, Cumbria and Dorset have 2, and Cleveland, Norfolk, Warwickshire and North Wales all have only one.

In 2009, minority ethnic officers accounted for around 4.4 per cent of the total police force, a far cry from the 7 per cent target set by the Home Office a decade ago when the Macpherson report accused the police of marring the Stephen Lawrence murder investigation due to inherent racism within the service.

The Mirror claims that figures in 2014 showed that only 5.6 per cent of officers came from ethnic backgrounds, with only four of the 44 English and Welsh forces reaching the seven per cent target.

The numbers indicate that police forces do not reflect the ethnic complexion of communities in the UK, “just one in 20 police officers is from an ethnic minority, against one in 10 of the population,” the Mirror observes.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “The rate of recruitment from black and minority ethnic communities is increasing. There’s much more to do but, with reduced budgets, it is difficult to move at the pace we need to.”

The Mirror notes that the forces with no or low numbers of black officers had a higher number identifying as mixed race and a small number who chose not to reveal their ethnicity.

Durham and Dyfed-Powys Police discussed taking “positive action” to increase their BME numbers, according to the Mirror.

In our election manifesto, we highlighted the problem of low recruitment and retention of officers from BME backgrounds in police forces in England and Wales, as well as the low level of BME officers represented at senior rank. The Conservative party has committed to improving BME representation in the police force stating in its manifesto “We will improve the diversity of police recruitment – especially BME officers.”

ITV News and the Mirror report on the police search for a man who forcibly tried to remove a Muslim woman’s hijab on a train.

British Transport Police have issued CCTV images of the man who shouted abuse at a Muslim woman on a train travelling between Matlock and Derby on Saturday 4 July before trying to yank her headscarf off her head. The man was ejected from the train at Ambergate station at approximately 4.50pm. He is described as having a distinctive tattoo of a cross on the back of his neck.

Investigating Officer, PC Joseph Jenkins said: “The victim was extremely distressed by this shocking incident. Nobody should have to put up with such behaviour, and we are working extremely hard to find the person responsible. I am confident the man in the images we are issuing today can help with our enquiries.”

Rob Greensmith, crime prevention manager from East Midlands Trains, added: “We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour and are taking this incident very seriously. Everybody has the right to travel on our trains without fear of discrimination and we will be working closely with British Transport Police on their appeal.”

With growing levels of Islamophobic hate crime in the UK, reports suggest that Muslim women are more likely to be victims of Islamophobic hate crime than Muslim men. Research has shown that veiled Muslim women are more likely to be victims of religious hate crime due to visible religious symbols, such as the hijab or niqab. Dr Irene Zempi, a criminologist at Leicester University, has argued that Muslim women are more likely to be rendered “invisible victims” because they rarely report abuse or hate crime to the police.

The news follows on from reports of a sharp increase in the number of people experiencing racial or religiously aggravated hate crimes on public transport. The British Transport Police revealed that four suspected hate crimes took place every day in 2014.

Thomas Hammarberg, the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, expressed his own fears about the rise of mainstream xenophobia and Islamophobia last year suggesting that mainstream parties had failed to tackle the steady normalization of “the narrative of hate”. Indeed, survey data from the British Social Attitudes survey and from the polling agency, YouGov, shows the persistence of anti-Muslim intolerance in British society.