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Muslim communities, conflict and terrorism: a study of Alum Rock

Imran Awan (Based at the Centre for Police Sciences, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, UK)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 28 September 2012




The purpose of this paper is to examine the current UK Prevent Agenda 2011 and the possible threat to local communities from such policies which may actually fuel further resentment and make communities less safe and more susceptible to radicalisation and extremism.


The paper presents a short qualitative study that involved members of the Alum Rock community in Birmingham (UK) that had experience of Prevent strategies. The study involved semi‐structured interviews which were conducted with Muslim community members who were involved either directly or indirectly with Prevent programmes in the area of Alum Rock.


The study found that overall Muslim communities within Alum Rock were suspicious of the role of law enforcement agencies and counter‐terrorism policies such as Prevent.

Research limitations/implications

In a short qualitative study and with a small sample size there is clearly a need to do further research and deal with a larger sample size that would demonstrate a more representative view of the community.

Practical implications

This study can help inform and improve the counter‐terrorism policy framework which includes Prevent. For example, more emphasis is needed on getting views from Muslim communities through focus groups and interviews which could in turn help build trust between Muslim communities and law enforcement agencies.


There is currently little research on the Prevent Agenda 2011 and the present paper provides an important contribution in understanding the views of Muslim communities in an area which has been the subject of a number of high profile counter‐terrorism operations (for example, Operation Gamble involved a number of police raids aimed at foiling a plot to behead a Muslim soldier), Project Champion (where West Midlands police used overt and covert surveillance (CCTV) cameras in predominantly Muslim areas). The data collected could be used as a template for gaining a better understanding of how Muslims feel about Prevent and as such can improve relations between Muslim communities and the police.



Awan, I. (2012), "Muslim communities, conflict and terrorism: a study of Alum Rock", Safer Communities, Vol. 11 No. 4, pp. 195-204.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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