Cameras track movement of Birmingham Muslims

Cameras track movement of Birmingham Muslims London: Two areas of Birmingham predominantly inhabited by the Muslim community have been the target of hundreds of surveillance cameras as part of counter-terrorism measures, tracking movements of people in the neighbourhood.

The surveillance has reportedly been put in place on the pretext of combating anti-social behaviour, vehicle crime and drug dealing in the area, The Guardian reported Saturday.

However, the cameras had been paid for by a 3-million- pounds grant from a government fund, the Terrorism and Allied Matters Fund.

The report said that about 150 automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) cameras had been installed in Washwood Heath and Sparkbrook in recent months.

Birmingham's two predominantly Muslim suburbs will be covered by three times more ANPR cameras than are used to monitor the entire city centre.

They include about 40 cameras classed as "covert", meaning they have been concealed from public view, the report said.

Salma Yaqoob, councillor for Sparbrook, told the daily that source of funding was not made clear when details of the plan were disclosed to some councillors.

She said: "I raised my concern then: is this really about spying? The terrorism aspect was certainly not emphasised in that meeting.

"In fact it was me having to be portrayed as the awkward squad, or even paranoid, for even raising the issue of whether this was really about counter-terrorism. They were very much saying, 'No, this is about burglary and crime.'"