People were surprised to see the outfits (Picture: Alamy Live News)
Metropolitan Police officers strutted down the catwalk at the London Muslim Shopping Fest this weekend, much to the surprise of some of the crowd.
The two-day festival is all about showcasing the best in Muslim business – from food to fashion and lifestyle brands. The 2023 exhibition, which took place between February 25-26 in London Excel, also featured a live modest fashion show.
On the runway, models wore uniforms typically worn by the Met, showcasing potential jobs, with slogans such as ‘become a police office, be the change you want to see’.
It was all due to the event’s partnership with London’s Metropolitan police, but on social media, some have questioned the segment.
In their disapproval of the show, some online cited allegations of Islamophobia during the police’s handling of Grenfell tower, plus Muslims being more likely than white Britons to be stopped and searched by police.
The Muslim Shopping Fest partnered with London Met police (Picture: Alamy Live News.)
One person wrote on Twitter: ‘No way – especially when we already face enough systematic oppression from the police’.
Meanwhile another wrote: ‘Capitalism is a disease. Where is the solidarity with our Black brothers and sisters who are disproportionately stopped and searched, or solidarity with all the victims of Prevent? Muslims are already under heavy surveillance’.
One user, 25-year-old Sara Bafo, claimed: ‘The police have a long history of terrorising the Muslim community with stop and search, mass surveillance, incarceration and more. Whoever organised this event needs to understand that ‘copaganda’ will not save us – representation politics will not save us. This is disgusting.’
We spoke to Sara, a community organiser from London, who told Metro.co.uk: ‘Partnering with an institution that is inherently racist and violent does not help our communities – it enables the Metropolitan Police to be in our communities without being accountable.
‘Policing is not the solution for change. We need to redirect our focus and amplify grassroots organisations that directly support our communities.’
The show was criticised by Muslims online (Picture: Alamy Live News.
The sentiment was echoed by Farzana Khan, a writer from London. She also expressed her disbelief, saying the partnership erased the police’s involvement in hurting the Muslim community.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘Given the long history and present of Muslims communities being surveilled, disproportionately stopped and searched, detained and imprisoned, this is brand-washing.
‘Also Muslim women’s bodies are policed all the time, donning a police outfit doesn’t structurally change the majority of Muslims women’s realities from Islamophobia. It’s just PR that absolves or hides the police’s role in perpetuating Islamophobia’.
Metro.co.uk contacted the London Metropolitan police regarding the accusations and to get more clarity on the event. A spokesperson told Metro.co.uk: ‘The Met work with organisations who have reach into London’s diverse communities. Our aim is to increase trust in the police and attract a more diverse range of applicants to join as police constables.
‘Through one such partner the Met had a significant presence at the annual London Muslim Shopping Festival which attracts thousands of visitors each year. As well as a recruitment stand, officers and staff participated in a range of activities and spoke to hundreds of people about careers in the Met.
‘Our specialist outreach teams were present at the event. Their role is to engage with diverse communities so people have more confidence to apply. Police uniforms were worn during the Modest Fashion Show Event to highlight the wide range of roles the Met has to offer.’
We reached out to the London Shopping Fest for comment and will update the article once they respond.
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‘This is brand-washing.’