Home Affairs Committee Press Notice

Session 2005-06/PN No. 10


The Home Affairs Committee's report on Terrorism and Community Relations will debated in Westminster Hall on Thursday 27 October, from 2.30 to 5.30 pm.

The Committee's report was published on 6 April (Sixth Report of Session 2004-05, House of Commons Paper No. 165-I). The Government's reply was published as a command paper on 9 June (Cm 6593).

The debate is open to the public.

The report's main conclusions were as follows:

Overall, community relations have deteriorated, although the picture is by no means uniform, and that there are many positive examples to set against the overall assessment.

Building cohesive communities is integral to fighting terrorism, and the Muslim community should be fully involved in the next stages of the Government's anti-terrorism strategy. The report calls for much greater recognition of the problems of Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

Local councils in this country and abroad have shown energy and imagination in tackling difficult issues. Their efforts should be reinforced by a central Government strategy to explain national policies and to encourage discussion. Faith leaders have a particularly important part to play in challenging prejudice and reinforcing tolerance.

The Committee did not believe that the Asian community was being unreasonably targeted by police stops and searches, but accepted that Muslims clearly perceive that they are being stigmatised by the operation of the Terrorism Act. The police and Government should make special efforts to reassure Muslims.

Media coverage of international terrorism and community relations has a powerful and often negative impact. Representatives of the media were unaware or dismissive of this. The media must live up to their responsibilities to report fairly and accurately.

The report endorses the call for a national debate to develop a modern British identity that was first made in the Cantle Report on the northern riots.

Media Enquiries: Jessica Bridges Palmer, Tel 020 7219 0718, email: bridgespalmerj@parliament.uk
Specific Committee Information: Tel 020 7219 3276, email: homeaffcom@parliament.uk
Committee Website: http://www.parliament.uk/homeaffairscom
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv
Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474). Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on www.parliament.uk

NOTE FOR EDITORS: The Committee was nominated on 13 July 2005. Its terms of reference are to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Home Office and its associated public bodies; and the administration and expenditure of the Attorney General's Office, the Treasury Solicitor's Department, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Serious Fraud Office (but excluding individual cases and appointments and advice given within government by Law Officers). The Members are:

Rt Hon John Denham (Chairman) (Lab) (Southampton Itchen)
Mr Richard Benyon (Con) (Newbury)
Mr Jeremy Browne (Lib Dem) (Taunton)
Colin Burgon (Lab) (Elmet)
Mr James Clappison (Con) (Hertsmere)
Mrs Ann Cryer (Lab) (Keighley)
Mrs Janet Dean (Lab) (Burton)
Nick Harvey (Lib Dem) (North Devon)
Nick Herbert (Con) (Arundel and South Downs)
Mr Shahid Malik (Lab) (Dewsbury)
Steve McCabe (Lab) (Birmingham Hall Green)
Gwyn Prosser (Lab) (Dover)
Mr Gary Streeter (Con) (South West Devon)
Mr David Winnick (Lab) (Walsall North)