The recent arrest of eight men for allegedly planning a bombing campaign has been one of comes after a massive increase in arrests and searches in the last year.
The press made a big deal of the young men's Pakistani descent. Some of it was a discussion about why young men who seemed integrated into UK society, would be attracted to the irrational political message of the Islamists. A fair enough question to ask. But the idea is being promoted that you cannot trust Muslim people.
One of the police operatives involved in the raid and arrests said: "It is one thing having foreigners doing things against us, but to have our own people - born and bred and raised in the UK - allegedly engaged in preparing a terrorist act is pretty shocking."
Home Office figures for 2002-03 show there have been 32,100 searches under the Terrorism Act, 21,900 more than in the previous year and more than 30,000 above 1999-2000 levels. Of the 32,100 searches, just 380 people were arrested. And out of 500 people arrested since September 11, only 77 have been charged and, so far, two convicted.
Mainstream Muslim organisations have protested against the operation. They cite the case of suspect A, who was one of four men arrested during a series of early morning raids. He was interviewed by the Guardian.
Six or seven officers burst into his bedroom: "They were punching me in the head, on the back and on the legs. I must have taken about 30 strikes They told me I was being arrested under the Terrorism Act . They put me in the prostrate position we adopt when we pray. They started laughing and asking, 'Where is your God now?'... They laid me face down [in the police van]. One officer stood on my ankle and I took five or 10 punches to the back and kidneys. They were pulling and twisting the cuffs."
He and three other men arrested during the operation were released without charge after seven days.