When a terrorist is not a terrorist
Thank goodness, British justice is consistent - unfair, unequal, but consistent. Prosecutors and judges make sure that the lines don't get blurred. Nowhere is this more important than when it comes to what defines who is with us and who is against us: terrorism is an exclusively Muslim hallmark, and it must stay this way.
Prosecutors and the bench at Glasgow Sheriff Court knew the distinction. There was a man before them who had threatened to blow up Glasgow Central mosque, called himself a "proud racist" and promised to execute one Muslim a day until all mosques in Scotland would be closed. A man with a problem, but definitely not a terrorist. To be a terrorist you have to confess Islam. MacGregor hates Islam and Muslims, and his patriotic choice is reflected in the leniency of his sentence. Three years probation provided he seeks occasional psychriatric help.
Contrast this with Isa Ibrahim, a disturbed convert to Islam, who was also a heroin addict and fancied to blow up Bristol shopping centre. He didn't have the capability and in his first experiment with explosives promptly injured himself. He was a lot more in need for psychriatric help than the proud racist MacGregor, but judges at Winchester Crown court knew that the moment he had converted to Islam he had crossed the line to becoming a terrorist and awarded him a life sentence. Ironically, it was his local mosque who reported him to the police, thus giving the media another frenzy to feed on about the dangerous Muslims in our midst.
Or take the "lyrical terrorist" Samina Malik. Her crime was to write poetry. She didn't plan or threaten to kill anybody. Her poetry was tasteless, but no more so than being a proud racist. At the Old Bailey, judges knew the difference, and gave her a nine months suspended jail sentence under terrorism legislation.
Take Peter Stephen Hill from Skipton in Yorkshire, a former territorial army soldier who had amassed a large amount of explosives. A risk analyst by trade, he knew he would not be branded a terrorist if found out. He was charged at Leeds Magistrates court under the "Explosive Substances Act 1883". By the time the matter was due in the Crown Court the prosecution withdrew from the case.
Or former British National Party candidate Robert Cottage from Lancashire who kept all kinds of chemicals for the purpose of making explosives in preparation of a civil war and who also wanted to shoot the then prime minister Tony Blair (many Brits did, but he meant it) - he also was charged only under laws relating to explosives. Sure, it's naughty wanting to take out the prime minister, but at least he had the right reasons. There was no doubt he wanted an Islamic State to emerge from the civil war he was preparing for. He was jailed for a mere two-and-a-half years and the media kept it all low key.
One could give many more examples. But more telling is that the terrorism charge is usually not brought to court but used as a blunt bludgeon to hit innocent Muslims with. Like the Pakistani students rounded up and expelled without evidence when an anti-terrorist police chief Bob Quick cocked up by showing an open dossier to press photographers. Or the Bengali Kalam brothers in East London who had there house raided and got seriously injured in the process, followed by a media smear campaign, all on the basis of unreliable police "intelligence". Or Barbar Ahmed, brutally assaulted by police and still fighting a US extradition warrant. Or the thousands of Muslims who get stopped and searched going about their ordinary daily business. And thousands of Muslims have been arrested and held under terrorism legislation to date only to be released without charge. The police would love to hold them all indefinitely.
You can say what you like about the British justice system. It may be antiquated, slow, expensive, inefficient. But the charge of ambiguity in distinguishing those who are with us from those who are against us cannot be levied against it: British injustice remains consistent.