Many people have been unwilling to accept that Muslims have been subject to a parallel system of justice in the UK, or that people have been criminalised for holding particular views. When Muslims raise these issues or warn of comparisons with dictatorships in the Muslim world, they are slapped down.
Freeing five Muslim men today, the Lord Chief Justice said their convictions for downloading ‘extremist’ propaganda were unsafe as there was no proof of terrorist intent.
Lord Phillips said: "difficult questions of interpretation have been raised in this case by the attempt by the prosecution to use [this law] for a purpose for which it was not intended,"
Many will hope this ruling ends this practice as far as the law is concerned. Whether it does remains to be seen. Regardless of this, this ruling exposes the fact that anti-terrorism laws have been drafted in a ‘catch all’ way so that they can be used by the Police to target people who fit certain religious profiles. These are politicised laws that were meant to target certain political views.
Given the current hysterical anti-Muslim climate, we do not expect to see an end to the media witch hunt anytime soon – where any positive expression of Islamic ideas are vilified as extremism, any criticism of foreign policy is labelled justifying terrorism, and any complaints about the treatment of Muslims is considered ‘whinging’.