The British government wanted binmen to snoop into Muslims’ rubbish cans to look for any suspicious, terror-linked material, a proposal spurned by local officials as an attempt to bring intelligence’s “dirty work” to the streets.
“We were asked to snoop on our own residents by getting our binmen to rummage around people’s rubbish,” Kris Hopkins, Council leader of the city of Bradford, told the Mail on Sunday.
Local authorities of 17 cities, including Bradford, Manchester, Oldham, Leicester and four London boroughs – all home to large Muslim communities – were approached recently with the plan, the paper said on Sunday, April 20.
They were asked to get their binmen peeking at Muslims’ trash cans for any discarded material that might be related to terrorist groups.
The plan was revealed to Town Halls at a highly-confidential meeting in central London, hosted by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and attended by ministers and high-ranking police chiefs.
Andy Hayman, who at the time was Britain’s top anti-terror policeman, was involved in the plan.
Police chiefs told local councils that the plan would be a part of addressing extremism and terror threats in the UK.
Britain is home to a sizable Muslim minority of more than 2 million.
They have been in the eye of the storm since the 7/7 London bombings, enduring a growing Islamophobic climate.
Muslims have also taken the brunt of anti-terror measures including the controversial stop-and-search operations and random house raids.
Responding to the revelations, the DCLG distanced the government, particularly Cabinet Minister Ruth Kelly, who was in charge of the department at the time of the meeting from the plan.
“It did not come from Ruth Kelly or any of her officials,” a DCLG official told the Mail.
“It was the police.”
The proposal did not hold ground after local councils immediately refused to cooperate.
“I, and others, refused to do anything like this,” said Robert Light, the leader of Kirklees Council in West Yorkshire.
Council officials slammed the suggestion as “ridiculous”.
“The idea that our binmen should be rooting around a wheelie bin to see if they can spot dodgy bits of paper or funny wires is ridiculous,” insisted Hopkins.
“Our binmen aren’t there to act like the secret police. They’re there to empty our bins.”
The council leader of Bradford, where Muslims make up some 25 percent of the population, criticized the plan for damaging community relations.
“Our job is to bring communities together, to help our communities live side by side, not do the dirty work for MI5.” IslamOnline.net & Newspapers
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