Crime, Law and Social Change

, Volume 50, Issue 1–2, pp 73–89 | Cite as

Salafi and Islamist Londoners: Stigmatised minority faith communities countering al-Qaida



The paper highlights the paradoxical position of certain Salafi and Islamist communities in London who have consistently demonstrated skill, courage and commitment in countering al-Qaida propaganda and recruitment activity while simultaneously facing ill-founded criticism from other Muslim communities and secular political lobbyists for creating the conditions that gave rise to the al-Qaida phenomena. In doing so the paper compares the experience of Salafi and Islamist communities living in London during an ongoing terrorist campaign by al-Qaida with Jewish and Irish Catholic communities living in London during earlier terrorist campaigns against the UK’s capital city. In each instance community policing is shown to have a crucial role to play in terms of reassurance for minority faith communities and the prevention of terrorism. However, the intersection between policing and counter-terrorism is shown to produce tensions that may weaken minority community confidence in policing and thereby reduce proactive community support for counter-terrorism measures. At this intersection a London policing initiative is shown to have developed proactive counter-terrorism partnerships with Salafi and Islamist community groups of a pioneering nature. In consequence the same critics who conflate Salafis and Islamists with an urgent terrorist threat to London have accused this policing initiative of appeasing extremism.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PoliticsUniversity of ExeterExeterUK

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