Specialist advice is being given to Scotland Yard on how to reduce tensions between police and Muslims during the London Olympics because of growing concerns about the Games clashing with the holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast during the day, The Times has learnt.
Experts will also warn the Metropolitan Police to ensure that the planned commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the Munich Games does not offend local and travelling Muslims.
The recommendations have been made by inter-faith advisers to Scotland Yard, where antiterrorism police are preparing to combat any possible Islamic terrorist threat to the Games.
Community tensions in the lead-up to the games have already been raised by a controversial Muslim movement, Tablighi Jamaat, which plans to build Britain’s largest mosque and Islamic complex near the 2012 Olympic stadium site.
Michael Mumisa, an Islamic scholar, and one of four experts hired by Scotland Yard who began training the police this week on inter-faith issues, said that the commemoration of the 11 Israeli athletes, killed by Palestinian militants from the Black September Organisation at the 1972 Munich Games, could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be “hijacking” the Games.
Edward Kessler, executive director of the Woolfe Institute, which deals with inter-faith dialogue, teaching and research, said that police needed to have a “minimum level of faith literacy” to help them deal with religious issues during the London Games. Dr Kessler said: “During Ramadan you’re going to have a lot of tired, hungry, less evenly tempered people because they haven’t eaten for 18 hours.”