This is a cross-post of an article by Robin Simcox.
In September 2007, Mohammed Atif Siddique was jailed for eight years for various terror offences. The most serious of these charges – possession of an article for a purpose connected to terrorism – was quashed last week. The appeals judge, Lord Osborne, called the original verdict a ‘miscarriage of justice’, which is inevitably the headline that most of the press ran on. The impression given was that the British state was once again unfairly demonising its Muslim population.
What was missed in most of the reporting was that Lord Osborne was only referring to the main charge as a miscarriage of justice. Siddique’s convictions for providing instruction for the purposes of terrorism, circulating a terrorist publication and breach of the peace still stood. Looking through the court documents, it is clear that Siddique is an unapologetic admirer of al-Qaeda and its ideology. He amassed huge stocks of jihadist material and would regularly discuss his desire to become a suicide bomber. That he could be used as an example of how ‘discriminatory’ the British state is somewhat rankles, to say the least.
However the really depressing information to come out of the court documentation is how the Glasgow college Siddique attended utterly failed to deal with his increasingly extreme behaviour:
‘Stephen Aitken, who taught website development… had been concerned in the web design class that the appellant had been using the symbolism of black flags. He had sought, but failed to obtain, an explanation from the appellant as to why he was doing this, but the matter was taken no further.’‘Brian Glancey, who taught the use of information technology as a business resource, spoke of two occasions upon which he told the appellant to stop accessing the websites he was looking at, notably ones displaying images of Osama bin Laden and musings and exploits of suicide bombers. He had told the appellant that it was inappropriate to access what he called “terrorist websites”. He had reported that access to his line manager. Again nothing positive appeared to have been done about that…William Stein, who also taught aspects of desktop publishing, had also told the appellant to stop accessing what he considered to be “inappropriate sites” which contained the logo of a circle and a rifle, at about the time of Ken Bigley’s murder.’
So there were multiple occasions when Siddique’s tutors were aware of their pupil’s penchant for jihad. Yet nothing was done. Want to hazard a guess at to why?
‘The impression gained from the block of evidence concerned was that the staff were reluctant to do anything for fear of some accusation of racist conduct.’ [my emphasis]
This is textbook moral relativism. An unwillingness (or inability) to make a moral judgement results in college staff being afraid to act upon their student’s glorification of Osama bin Laden and other mass murderers because to do so would be ‘racist’. This is, ironically enough, about as racist as it gets. Assuming that Muslims can’t help themselves when it comes to supporting terrorist causes, pleasant, well-meaning people apply a much lower standard to their Muslim students then they would ever dream of applying to any other group.
It is precisely this kind of mindset that allowed Major Nidal Hassan’s erratic and extreme behaviour to go unnoticed in the US, and Umar Abdulmutallab’s here at UCL. It is also the mindset that still sees no problem with Islamic societies up and down the country to constantly host extremist speakers on university campus. It is prejudiced nonsense – and it needs to stop.