Two Tier Justice: White Terrorist Versus Muslim Terrorist and Institutional Racism
In mid-2016, a 17-year-old male from the City of Bradford in the North of England was arrested on terrorism charges after being reported by a suspicious neighbour.
What ever we say about curtain-twitchers in our local communities, sometimes they can be lifesavers, hey?
The young male’s identity has been protected because he is considered a minor under British Law; and so, he is protected under various legal instruments including the UN Convention on the Rights of Child.
Yes, you may laugh at this; but this is one of the tenets that are supposed to make the British judicial system unique and to be envied as a beacon, is it not?
Many would disagree with this, and suggest that such protections; particularly in this instance, are ‘nannyish’ in the extreme, arguing that the seriousness of the matter (had an act of terrorism been carried out) would warrant removal of anonymity.
The police are quoted in the mainstream media; and subsequently by his prosecution, that he became ‘radicalised’ by social media and events happening in the UK and events portrayed in World news.
The 17-year-old had posted images of homemade incendiary devices and made comments on social media, praising the murder of the Labour MP, Jo Cox, who was shot dead in the street of her constituency by a member of the public with Far Right connections.
When West Yorkshire police raided the young male’s family home, they found various extremist paraphernalia and incriminating content on his personal computer, including messages and communications posted on chat forums, that he had shared with others with similar views to his own.
He was apparently planning an attack on a local mosque.
Incidentally, the young male in question, also had links to the same extremist group, National Action, as did Jo Cox’s murderer. Rightly so, National Action has since been proscribed as a terrorist organisation.
In January 2017, the male was found guilty of making ‘viable’ explosive devices, but acquitted of intent to carry out an act of terror. His defence team successfully argued that he was only ‘experimenting’, and had no intent of carrying out any kind of attack.
He was sentenced by Mr Justice Goss, rather leniently, to just a supervision and rehabilitation order.
But what if he had been a 17-year-old Muslim, ‘messing’ around with explosives and posting extremist content on social media, not intending to act out his desires to commit a terrorist act?
Let’s look, shall we?
In March 2015, a 15-year-old male from Lancashire was convicted on terrorism charges, after pleading guilty to inciting a person to commit an act of terrorism.
In May 2015, a teenager from Newham, London, was convicted of grooming a “vulnerable” young man, to kill UK soldiers, and sentenced to 8-years in a young offenders institution and placed on a 15-year prevention and supervision order.
In October 2016, in Paris, France, a teenager was charged with criminal association with a terrorist group. Again, in Paris, in 2017, a 16-year-old female was arrested on suspicion of planning a future attack.
Only within the last couple of days, five teenagers, between the ages of 17 – 19, have been arrested in London, on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack.
In 2014/ 5, two teenage males in the North East of England were arrested by Northumbria police, on suspicion of planning a terrorist attack. Again, the defence team argued that the two males involved were not serious and had no intention of carrying out an act of terror. They were also given anonymity and let off the supervision orders.
In the case of the 17-year-old from Bradford and the two teenagers from the North East of England, all three were young White males.
In all other cases referred to, the teenagers involved are Muslim and all have been sentenced to detention, or are waiting to be given detention orders.
In the case of the 15-year-old, from Bolton, in Lancashire, convicted of terrorism charges, for inciting a person to commit an act of terrorism in Australia, his rights as a minor and to anonymity were removed by the British courts.
It would appear that anonymity if you are a White teenage terrorist suspect is an absolute right, but not if you a Muslim teenage terrorist suspect?
Does this mean that the British media and judicial system only say ‘terrorism’, when the person involved is Muslim? Can we say that the ‘system’ looks on White teenage terror suspects and treats them more favourably and with more leniencies?
In short, the answer is yes!
In comparing each of these circumstances, all those involved were/ considered minors under the British legal system; only those who are Muslim have received a custodial sentence.
Perhaps the British Judicial System is not an enviable beacon after-all?
Indeed, it’s the same outcome when we look at arrests and sentencing rates, of other minority groups. Only in the last week, the Guardian and Voice Newspaper journalist, Leah Sinclair, revealed that Black and other minority groups in the UK are 40% more likely to be tasered by the Metropolitan police.
As we know, it’s even worse in countries like France; and particularly, in draconian countries like the United States.
Whilst the term ‘racism’ is used as a blanket or catchall description; for all forms of prejudice and discrimination, it seems that wherever we are, our criminal and public institutions remain inherently racist.
Until we remove this double standard of cultural bias and privilege and difference of ‘Other’; true equality under the law (and in society as whole) is, but an aspiration and an everyday reality of inequality to us non-White folk.
Don’t be surprised if we refuse to sit for it much longer!
Author: Jason Schumann