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 makes comparisons between Salafi and Islamist communities living in London during an ongoing terrorist campaign by al-Qaida and 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 community policing and counter-terrorism is shown to produce tensions that may weaken minority community confidence in policing and thereby reduce pro-active community support for counter-terrorism measures. A London policing initiative is shown to have developed pro-active counter-terrorism partnerships with Salafi and Islamist community groups of a pioneering nature. In consequence that policing initiative has been accused of appeasing extremism by the same critics who conflate Salafis and Islamists with an urgent terrorist threat to London.
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