CAIRO - Muslims in Worchester have been invited to participate in a police counter-terrorism training as part of enhancing police relations with the religious minority, Worchester News newspaper reported.
I was a lot younger than many of those who took part and it was interesting to hear everyone else's views and opinions, said Shabaz Ali, a 17-year-old student who studies at Worcester College of Technology.
At the training, officers from West Mercia Police, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and West Mercia Probation Trust were joined by youth workers, businessmen and women and students at the Guildhall.
Held for the first time in the city, the guests tried to swap roles in a fictitious investigation.
Titled Operation Nicole, the training was made to show people the complexities faced by police in making counter-terrorism decisions, while also helping officers understand the impact their operations have on communities.
West Mercia Police said it was designed to help Muslim people and the authorities understand decisions made around terrorism operations.
Inspector Janet Heritage, who leads local policing in Worcester and who organized the event, said she believed the event took forward the police's relationship with the local Muslim community and thanked all those who took part.
It was a good way of meeting people and getting a better understanding of how the police work, said Ali.
It's changed my views about how they try to deal with the people and communities.
Muslims said that focus needed to be made on improving communication between the police and Muslim community.
"We need to focus on improving the communications between the police and Muslim communities and making sure that if individuals see or hear something they do what they can to prevent it, businessman Mohammed Manir said, the BBC reported.
"And we need to look at the big picture and the effect British foreign affairs has on the situation."
Manir added that members of the Muslim community do what they can to stop terrorism if they see or hear something in their community.
Superintendent Steve Cullen, policing commander for south Worcestershire, also took part in the exercise.
Operation Nicole generates intensive dialogue in a safe environment for those communities to discuss their concerns and differences with the police and other local services, Cullen said.
Muslim communities are also disproportionately affected by counter-terrorist operations.
Facing British mistrust, Britain's two million Muslims have taken full brunt of anti-terror laws since the 7/7 attacks.
They have repeatedly complained of maltreatment by police for no apparent reason other than being Muslim.
A Financial Times opinion poll has showed recently that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net