When are extremists convicted of planning and carrying out violent attacks allowed to escape the full force and attention of the Government’s anti-terrorism laws and policies? The answer is presumably when they are not Muslim if recent arrests and trials are anything to go by. As reported by The Muslim News, a gang of Sikh extremists have been jailed for a total of nearly 50 years for cutting the throat of a retired Indian general on the streets of London. Last month, a right-wing terrorist was given bail despite the discovery of a suspected nail bomb.
All the Sikh members worshipped at the Central Gudwara London (Khalsa Jatha), which they used as a “base and meeting point” to plan the pre-meditated stabbing. But there was no indication that the centre or others were to be put under any surveillance not for members of their community to be subjected to de-radicalisation programmes.
The right-wing terrorist was a 19-year old British soldier, who was also alleged to have been found with extremist leaflets in his possession. Yet it was understood that he had not been subjected to pre-charge detention so commonly used against Muslims, under which suspected terrorist can be held for up to 14 days while investigations continue.
Suffice to say, both case are in stark contrast to the treatment of Muslims so regularly littered in the front-page headlines of the national press. The whole Muslim community is targeted with the Government’s anti-terror legislations including the Prevent Extremism policy. We don’t see that with other communities when their members are involved in terrorism. Is this considered a level playing field? Rather it seems that it is one rule for one community and another for the rest.