Monday, April 17, 2017

UK: Wolverhampton Ahmadiyya leader rejects Labour candidat's proposal for using mosques to report hate crimes


Mohammed Yaseen Khan, who is president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Wolverhampton, said: “People should report hate crimes to the police.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | UK Desk
Source/Credit: Express & Star
By AT/TOA | April 17, 2017

Wolverhampton Ahmadiyya leader has rejected a suggestion by Labour’s candidate for West Midlands’ mayor that hate crimes could be reported to mosques or community centres rather than the police.

In an interview filmed during a visit to a Muslim community centre, Sion Simon said there had been ‘hundreds of thousands’ of hate crimes since last June’s Brexit vote.

He went on to suggest such offences could be reported at ‘less intimidating’ places than police stations.

But a Black Country Muslim leader has rejected Mr Simon’s views arguing crimes should be reported to the police.

In a recorded interview, Mr Simon said: “Hundreds of thousands of hate crimes have been suffered since the Brexit vote last year.

“And one smaller practical thing we can do – what they call secondary reporting – in order to report a hate crime you shouldn’t have to go to a policeman, to a police station, you should be able to report a hate crime perhaps in a mosque or in a community centre, or somewhere that is less intimidating and easier for members of our communities to feel that they can go to and talk about terrible things that have happened to them.

“But we must all stand up and say ‘no’ – not in our name, not in our West Midlands and not in our communities here because that is not the kind of place we are.”

Mohammed Yaseen Khan, who is president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, Wolverhampton, said: “People should report hate crimes to the police.

"What will a mosque or any other religious gathering be able to do if a criminal offence is reported? I am very clear that these crimes need to be reported to the police whose job it is to investigate.”

UKIP councillor and MEP, Bill Etheridge, also criticised Mr Simon’s comments, branding them ‘grossly irresponsible’ for an aspirational mayor.

He added: “In no circumstances is it acceptable for anyone to think if they see a crime they should report it to anyone other than the police.”

Mr Simon recorded the interview Jamia Masjid Trust Community Education Centre on April 9.

Yesterday, his campaign spokesman, said: “Sion believes that hate crimes should be reported and that secondary reporting is a tried-and-tested method that is backed by the regional Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson and West Midlands Police.”

The six candidates are: James Burn (Green), Pete Durnell (UKIP), Beverley Nielsen (Liberal Democrat), Sion Simon (Labour), Graham Stevenson (Communist) and Andy Street (Conservative).

The vote will be held on May 4.


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