Anorak News | Testing Times

Testing Times

by | 7th, March 2005

‘THE INDEPENDENT reports the death of David Shepherd, late bishop of Liverpool. Its headline describes him as the last of the muscular Christians.

The glory days of community policing

Of course, the muscular Christians it refers to were the type who built boys’ clubs and taught urchins to box, march about and sing hymns. Not the sort who went on crusades to foreign lands and waged war on Islam.

However, there might be a few Guardian readers reaching for the trusty chain mail and sword after reading the paper’s dramatic story by Rosie Cowan (the paper has a quota system that ensures there are always at least three Rosies and two Daisies on its books at all times).

Rosie reports that teenage gangs in south London are claiming to have connections with Islamic terrorists. They call themselves the Muslim Boys – in itself a crime, surely, given its implied exclusion of girls – and they are said to “force members to convert at gun-point and pray before going out to commit crimes”.

Worrying news indeed.

But the Metropolitan Police have no intention of letting these criminals get away with their nefarious activities under the cloak of Allah.

“I would love to give these thugs an Islamic knowledge test,” said Tarique Ghaffur, the assistant commissioner in charge of the force’s serious crime division. “I doubt many of them would pass.”

How sad that the Met, for all its attempts to become up-to-date and exclusive, should inadvertently reveal itself to be so old-fashioned and unenlightened.

Don’t they realise that the whole idea of “tests” which can be “passed” (and therefore also failed) is hopelessly outdated?

Rather than test these young men, we should be asking how we can boost their self-esteem, and offer new ways to bring their gang customs and culture to the table.

And until the day that a Muslim Boy holds a senior rank in the Met itself, the force cannot be said to represent the community it claims to serve.’

Posted: 7th, March 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink