By Anisa Abouelhassan
How I’d like things to be in 10 years time
In the future I don’t want people to have an opportunity to blame our faith for crime carried out by individual Muslims. I also do not want the security and peace of all people to be threatened by a minority few.
Currently, there are 10,000 Muslims amongst the prison population, which is high compared to other groups. In ten years time, I would like to see this number dramatically reduced and more Muslims aspiring to greater achievements, rather than aspiring to get out of jail. And, of course, I would like to see a huge decline in the number of Muslim victims of crime, as Muslim and Asian communities in the UK currently suffer disproportionately from the effects of crime.
We need to continue to become involved in as many civil society organizations as we can. This can be carried out by providing a helping hand in the place where we live and remembering that the act of one Muslim can have positive or negative consequences for us all.
In one example, an organised multi-ethnic criminal gang smuggled drugs into the country by placing them in the Quran and by weaving drug ingredients into rugs and other everyday household items. The gangs are often living in a highly populated Muslim area of the UK. Criminals need to off-load the drugs quickly, and so the first and easiest place to do this is in the community that they are living within. They employ drug dealers who are often Muslims who associate with young people to sell the drugs. Often to feed drug addiction, further crimes are carried out such as robbery, theft, fraud, prostitution and violence.
Criminals in the British Muslim community harm the potential of our community to prosper. This is why we should help law enforcement and the community to fight criminality. We must disown their criminal and unjust acts by passing on information about criminality either to law enforcement directly or anonymously to Crimestoppers.
When Crimestoppers runs crime-fighting campaigns in Asian/Muslim communities we are often overwhelmed by the support and willingness to help fight crime. This means members of Muslim communities are proactively working towards improving the quality of life of all by helping to make our communities safer.
Victims of crime and potential criminals are in our neighbourhoods; we cannot allow the Muslim prison statistics to rise any higher.
To find out more about Crimestoppers visit http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/how-we-help/minority-communities.
Anisa Abouelhassan is the Asian-Muslim Communities Manager for the Crimestoppers Trust. Anisa is a qualified development worker whose interests are in tackling the injustices of all kinds of criminality that harm communities. Anisa has previously worked in the youth offending service and a range of third sector community organisations.
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