Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Muslim PC removed from Tony Blair’s security claims damages

Meet PC Amjad Farooq. He is presently suing on the grounds of discrimination for being removed from his job of guarding Tony Blair when he was prime minister. Mr Farooq was transferred from the Diplomatic Protection Group on 'national security grounds' after MI5 had carried out a number of checks on him. As a consequence, he claims that he suffered ‘racial and religious discrimination’.

Religious, quite possibly, but racial, not at all.

Ironically, PC Farooq was recruited to the Metropolitan Police as part of its campaign to increase the number of black and minority ethnic officers and staff. And this is the stereotypical thanks they can expect.

It is all to do with the Jamia mosque that PC Farooq and his family attended in Swindon. There is an alleged link between a former imam and the Sipah-e-Sahaba terror group in Pakistan, which is believed to be a part of the Al-Qaeda network. PC Farooq's two sons, then aged nine and 11, attended this mosque for religious studies.

While PC Farooq insists he did not associate with any Islamist extremists at the mosque, he is, like Barack Obama with his fiery pastor, somewhat tarnished by association. But this association is deemed to constitute ‘evidence’ to justify the refusal of his counter-terrorism clearance. And when PC Farooq appealed to the Security Vetting Appeal Panel, which is run by the Cabinet Office, he was refused any details on the grounds of ‘national security’. He was simply told that ‘his presence might upset the U.S. secret service which works with the Met's close-protection unit that guards Downing Street and the U.S. Embassy’.

So it is all to do with appeasing the US secret service.

While the Metropolitan Police insists that its decision was ‘proportionate and justified’, unless clear evidence was discovered of a link between PC Farooq and certain madrassas in Pakistan, this is manifestly a case of religious discrimination.

And if one is now to be denied a position on the grounds of the views of one’s religious leader, Cranmer fears for all adherents of the Church of England.


Anonymous common sense said...

I don't like Tony Blair, but I completely fail to see the argument against this one. Thank God for the American secret services if this is British logic!

6 May 2008 at 09:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One is reminded of the Sikhs that were Indira Ghandi's personal bodyguards...they were the ones that eventually machine gunned her to death.

So the idea of a muslim DPS officer around the PM with a loaded gun, is perhaps taking trust a little too far.

6 May 2008 at 09:37  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace I agree with Anonymous. Indira Ghandi and her Sikh bodyguards who assassinated her immediately came to mind when I read your post.

6 May 2008 at 11:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One is reminded of the Sikhs that were Indira Ghandi's personal bodyguards...they were the ones that eventually machine gunned her to death.

So the idea of a muslim DPS officer around the PM with a loaded gun, is perhaps taking trust a little too far."
I really don't understand the problem.
If someone can not be trusted they should not be employed full stop.
However if because of Tony Blair we employ people who can not be trusted then, if they betray our trust it should be Blair they kill not someone innocent.
I agree with restrictions on employing some Muslims as policemen.
However I would like all Blair's bodyguards to be Muslims - to show that we can trust them and if we can't such is life :)

6 May 2008 at 11:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I really don't understand the problem."

Well, therein lies the problem ;-))

6 May 2008 at 11:15  
Anonymous the last toryboy said...

Like others I don't see an issue here. If Anglicans had a few recent religiously motivated terrorist events associated with their faith, I'd expect them to face some additional scrutiny too.

They don't though, so I think Cranmer is safe.

6 May 2008 at 11:39  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

A pity one of his bodyguards did not shoot him.

6 May 2008 at 17:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Discrimination is not banned in UK or EU law (sorry, just realised there is no difference). Only unfair discrimination is banned. If there is a justifiable reason why someone was discriminated against, the law has not been broken. For instance, asking for a female worker to work with female victims of male rapists is discrimination, but justifiable.

The case will come down to degrees of risk. Of course, some of us didn't think TB was worth protecting, but that's another matter.

6 May 2008 at 19:45  
Anonymous woman on a raft said...

I can't see the problem either. This was not just any old police duty; there is a diplomatic element in that the personnel have to be acceptable to other people apart from our PM.

Ordinarily the discrimination argument applies, but at this level it is like Lord Hoffmann in re: Pinochet where although nobody was suggesting that the Lord was in anyway biased (gosh me no) none the less his membership of Amnesty International meant that he should have stepped down before it became an issue. The case made it clear that not only must the law be unbiased, it must be seen to be unbiased through all its operatives. That applies to police officers as well as the judiciary.

It's not enough that PC Farooq did not associate with extremists at the mosque; if he had the slightest idea that there were some he should have informed his employer and made it absolutely clear he wasn't going back to that mosque. My guess is that the panic came when his employers found out he had been cocking a deaf 'un and it automatically raised issues about his judgment. It's not just a question of his physical loyalty; there is also the issue that he will have been party to very private discussions and there can be not the slightest risk of him repeating what he has heard, or else many people would simply refuse to speak to the PM in this man's presence.

The great fear is of a sleeper. This man is unlikely to be other than a genuinely committed police officer, but the lessons of the cold war have been learned; a mole at the top can put lives in danger.

Apologies, but I believe the Met did the right thing on this occassion. Depending on what the nature of the oblique connection was, this can indeed provide enough reason to justify the refusal of counter-terrorism clearance, even if it would not approach the level of evidence needed in other criminal or civil courts.

6 May 2008 at 19:48  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
I am not sure I understand what you are saying here. On the one hand you seem to be saying 'how dare he complain, he was only put there for being brown in the first place', on the other hand you seem to be saying that without a direct link between Farooq himself and terror groups in Pakistan, then this is clearly religious discrimination.

So what exactly are you saying?

In life it is important to choose one's company wisely. If one hangs about with prostitutes and is then accused of being a prostitute, one should not be surprised. One certainly should not take offence and criticise those who made this judgement. One's reputation is everything in life. Farooq made his reputation, in part by going to this mosque. Perhaps he was careless, perhaps he had no idea of its connections. That is not our concern. It may be unfortunate for him, but he must be responsible for decisions he made. There are consequences to the smallest and seemingly most insignificant of actions. Next time, he'll know better.

6 May 2008 at 21:17  
Anonymous Voyager said...

One is reminded of the Sikhs that were Indira Ghandi's personal bodyguards

The Praetorian Guard......

7 May 2008 at 17:13  
Blogger Harry Hook said...

Is there any chance that he could be reinstated as Gordon Brown's bodyguard?

8 May 2008 at 06:40  
Anonymous Peter M. Clarke said...

Your Grace,

There is much discrimination in the choice of bodyguards for world leaders. When have you ever seen a short, fat, elderly lady in a dark suit, dark glasses and ear plug headphone at the side of a leader on "walkabout". This muslim gent does fit the bill in his physical characteristics but has nobody noticed, we're at war with a large proportion of Mohammed's followers. Would Churchill have had a bodyguard of German origin?

8 May 2008 at 18:48  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Would Churchill have had a bodyguard of German origin?

Mr Clarke,

He had an entire royal family...

8 May 2008 at 20:20  
Anonymous Peter M. Clarke said...

Your Grace,

I should have asked: Would Roosevelt have had a bodyguard of Japanese origin?

In those far less PC times he ordered the internment of Japanese-americans. Should we not at least be limiting the opportunities to Muslims to cause bloodshed? PC Farooq could still pound the pavements, if that is what PC's still do.

After all, the Pew Global Attitudes Project did establish in 2006 that 15% of British Muslims believe that "violence against civilian targets in order to defend Islam can be justified often or sometimes", and Tony Blair is a major architect of the war in Iraq...

9 May 2008 at 17:00  

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