Manchester police face backlash from 'Islamophobic' exercise

Social media users both condmening and praising Greater Manchester Police’s 'Islamophobic' counter terrorism exercise.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

People take part in a police drill simulating an armed attack on the Intu Trafford Centre shopping centre in Trafford, Manchester, Britain, May 10, 2016.

British police and security forces conducted a mock terrorist attack on a shopping center in Trafford, Manchester on Tuesday.

An attacker shouting "Allahu Akbar” (God is the Greatest) entered the centre and a flash representing a bomb went off.

Volunteers covered in fake blood screaming and shouting for help as heavily armed police moved into the centre.

But on social media the shouting of "Allahu Akbar" during the counter terrorism exercise, which many people saw as Islamophobic, came to the fore.

Others blamed Islam and praised the exercise.

Following anti-Muslim posts on social media, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) apologised for linking the mock suicide bombing with Islam.

Some users appreciated the apology from GMP, while others said that it was unnecessary.

Following the GMP's apology, Manchester Council of Mosques, Bolton Council of Mosques and Stockport Muslims issued a statement stressing the need to avoid stereotyping.

The statement said that the "fake suicide bomber" who chanted "Allahu Akbar"..."in the eyes of many was unjustified and perpetatuates the false stereotypes about the nature of terrorists and terrorism."

All emergency services were involved in the exercise, which was designed to help prepare for responding to attacks like the ones in Paris in November and Belgium in March.

Manchester city centre was targeted by an IRA bombing in 1996.

TRTWorld and agencies