Why weren’t the ex British soldiers who allegedly firebombed Grimsby mosque charged with terrorism, writes Roshan Muhammed Salih?
If Muslims had firebombed a British army barracks they would be called “terrorists” by every establishment media outlet under the sun. Journalists would look into their backgrounds, fishing for signs of what caused their “radicalization.”
Yet the reporting of the two ex British soldiers who were remanded in custody after appearing in court charged with arson with intent to endanger life was factual and neutral. As it should be. It’s just a shame that the same doesn’t apply to Muslims.
Stuart Harness, 33, and Gavin Humphries, 37, were arrested after the fire. They appeared at Grimsby magistrates’ court where no pleas were entered and they were denied bail. A full hearing will take place on June 7.
CCTV appeared to show three petrol bombs being thrown over the gate of the mosque, one of which landed by the door. No one was injured in the attack, which came days after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby near a military barracks in Woolwich.
A spokesman for Humberside Police said a number of messages left on social networking sites after Rigby’s death appeared to invite people to meet at various locations in the area and cause trouble.
More generally, what is the Ministry of Defence doing about the rampant Islamophobia which seems to exist within British army ranks? A lot of the Islamophobia and racism that I’ve noticed on social media seems to come from either serving or ex British soldiers.
I‘ll give you one example out of many. In a Facebook posting in December 2010, Scott McHugh vowed to shoot what he called “towel heads” when he returned to Afghanistan. He later went onto refer to “Pakis” while his Facebook friends gave full vent to their casual racism. He wasn’t arrested despite police complaints.
You can read his sordid story here, but I warn you, the racism and Islamophobia ain’t pretty.
I’m no military expert, but I guess that if you’re in the business of invading and occupying Muslim countries the officer class will teach you to hate the enemy – ie Muslims. And the more you hate out of blind ignorance the less you’ll think about the death and destruction you’re wreaking on another people’s country.
And the blowback you might cause back home.
You can follow Roshan Muhammed Salih on Twitter @RMSalih