Muslim Contact Unit

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Group.png Muslim Contact Unit PowerbaseRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Robert Lambert speaks to MCU.jpg
Robert Lambert speaks to the MCU.
FounderRobert Lambert
Parent organizationMetropolitan Police
Typeintelligence agency
Interests“radicalisation”, “extremism”, Muslim terrorists
Spooky unit of the UK Metropolitan Police interested in "radicalisation" of Muslims.

The Muslim Contact Unit (MCU) was set up Robert Lambert[citation needed] of the UK Metropolitan Police in the wake of the September 11 attacks purportedly to "thwart extremist attempts to recruit young British Muslims to violent jihad, by working with Islamic communities."

The Unit worked closely with the Muslim Safety Forum in the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings of July 2005.[1] Similar units were subsequently established by other police forces. [2]

One of the unit's contacts in the Muslim community was arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 in December 2006, but later released without charge.[3]

Atma Singh

The Mayor of London's former Asian issues advisor has been at the centre of controversy over the Muslim Contact Unit. The Mayor's Press Office accused Singh of failing to co-operate with a request for assistance made by the Metropolitan Police anti-terrorist unit in February 2005. [4]

According to journalist Martin Bright:

Singh was being asked to co-operate with a member of the Metropolitan Police Muslim Contact Unit, who believed, like City Hall, that it was a good idea to form alliances with ideologues like al-Qaradawi, who believe "terrorism" in the name of Islam is a valid form a political dissent.
Singh was the Mayor's adviser on Asian affairs and, as such, he advised against having anything to do with such a figure. The Mayor, in his ignorance, chose to disregard him. Thus a man devoted to the cause of anti-discrimination was dispensed with in the interests of appeasing of the Islamic radical Right. [5]

Singh was a key source for Court of Ken, Bright's January 2008 Dispatches documentary, which strongly criticised Ken Livingstone's record as London Mayor. [6]

Finsbury Park Mosque

Acording to former head, Bob Lambert, the unit worked with British Muslim Initiative leader Azzam Tamimi to take control of Finsbury Park Mosque from supporters of Abu Hamza in 2005. [7]

Neocon attacks

The Muslim Contact Unit has been heavily criticised by neoconservatives because of its approach to engaging with Islamic communities.

Given such a challenge to official orthodoxy there has been opposition to the Muslim Contact Unit's approach in both the police and government - and reportedly pressure for it to be wound down or disbanded. Its work has been singled out for attack by Dean Godson, research director of Policy Exchange, the Tory-linked thinktank whose recent research on extremist literature in British mosques was found to have been based on faked material. The unit has, Godson argued, been suffering from "ideological Stockholm syndrome". [8]

Godson has identified the unit as part of "Whitehall’s laissez-faire attitude, which rightly earned the capital the sobriquet of 'Londonistan'".

Members of the Met’s Muslim Contact Unit, one of the weirder parts of the force, extol the work of the Muslim Association of Britain and George Galloway in the East End — and have been known to rebuke a young woman of Muslim origin who dared to question the British State’s chosen Islamist partners. [9]

The Harry's Place blog has criticised the unit's approach:

A policy premised upon handing over a section of the population to the pro-jihad theocratic far right will always fail, and should never have been countenanced in the first place.
The test, I suppose, will be whether the Metropolitan Police sponsor the Global Peace and Unity Conference again, this year. [10]

So too has David Conway of the Centre for Social Cohesion:

Well, we all know that the endeavours of this unit to prevent young British Muslim from being recruited to Al Qaeda was far from being 100% successful. The unit relied on consulting with London mosque leaders. Not a few of these are the Muslim Brotherhood members and sympathisers who lead the organisations involved in last Saturday's vigil outside No 10. This is what makes me very worried that, until as recently as last week, the former head of this unit should have still been wishing to claim London’s safety resided with them. [11]


  • Bob Lambert - Former head of the unit, who established close working relationships with many Muslim communities, and was reported to have fathered a child with a member of a group he was infiltrating in the 1980s.[12]

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  1. Muslim Directory: Muslim Safety Forum - Community Update 08/07/05, accessed 24 February 2008.
  2. Special Branch to track Muslims across UK, by Vikram Dodd, Guardian, 20 July 2005.
  3. "If it can happen to me, it could happen to anyone", by Madeleine Bunting, Guardian, 30 January 2007.
  4. The Greater London Authority and Mr Atma Singh, Greater London Authority press release, 20 January 2008.
  5. I now Believe Ken is a disgrace to his office, by Martin Bright, Evening Standard, 21 January 2008.
  6. Bright defends Livingstone doc after ‘hatchet job’ claim, Rachael Gallagher, Press Gazette, January 2008.
  7. We need to listen to the man from special branch, by Seamus Milne, Guardian, 14 February 2008.
  8. We need to listen to the man from special branch, by Seamus Milne, Guardian, 14 February 2008.
  9. Already hooked on poison, By Dean Godson, The Times, 8 February 2006.
  10. Bob Lambert, Harry's Place, 14 February 2008, accessed 24 February 2008.
  11. In Whose Hands Does London’s Safety Now Rest According to Counter-Terrorism Chief?, by David Conway, Centre for Social Cohesion, 19 February 2008, accessed 24 February 2008.