In April of last year, after a senior officer accidentally managed to get himself photographed while holding a visible report into a live anti-terrorism operation, twelve Pakistani students were arrested. A number were later deported.
Inayat Bunglawala was outraged on the pages of CiF:
The Home Office announced last night that nine of the 12 men – mainly Pakistani students – arrested in dramatic circumstances two weeks ago following terror raids in Greater Manchester, Liverpool and Lancashire are now to be handed over to the UK Border Agency with a view to being deported. Another one of the 12 was handed over to immigration officials earlier this month.
You will recall that at the time of the arrests our prime minister, Gordon Brown, informed us that the raids were necessary because of “a very big terrorist plot”. Note the bold presumption of guilt which then unsurprisingly was quickly taken up by sections of our media.
“Shops and nightclub were terror targets,” read a Daily Express headline on 9 April.
“Al-Qaida terror plot to bomb Easter shoppers,” claimed the supposedly upmarket Daily Telegraph on 10 April.
Even the BBC website had its correspondent Nick Ravenscroft telling us that he had been told by police “sources” that an attack could have taken place “within days or weeks”.
Well, the media reporting a story in an overly sensational, alarmist and irresponsible manner is hardly novel, I admit. It is the government’s behaviour in this matter that is most reprehensible though.
Not content with prematurely accusing the arrested men as being part of a very big terrorist plot, now that no actual terror-related charges have been brought against at least 10 of the 12 originally arrested, instead of offering an apology to them for what they and their families have been put through and releasing them with good grace, they are seeking to deport them while disgracefully attempting to attach yet another appalling smear to them.
Well, the story has moved on:
A terror suspect living in Manchester was part of an al-Qaeda plot to launch co-ordinated international bombings, US Justice Department lawyers have said.
The lawyers are seeking to extradite Abid Naseer to the US to stand trial over alleged plots to plant bombs in Manchester, New York and in Norway.
David Perry QC told Westminster Magistrates’ Court Mr Naseer sought to “attack Western interests”.
Mr Naseer, 24, who is originally from Pakistan, denies the charges.
He was arrested in April 2009 as part of a group of 10 Pakistanis suspected of plotting a terror attack in the UK but nobody was charged.
Following his arrest, the Home 0ffice failed in a bid to deport Mr Naseer to Pakistan because of fears he would be tortured.
US authorities now want him to face trial for the role they claim he played in the alleged conspiracy to blow up targets in three countries.
Mr Perry described the alleged plot as a “wide, international conspiracy conceived by al-Qaeda”.
He told the court that Mr Naseer, who came to the UK on a student visa, was al-Qaeda’s “point of contact” for the conspiracy in the UK.
The court heard allegations that he carried out reconnaissance on targets in Manchester city centre which Mr Perry said were “most likely in the vicinity of St Anne’s Square or the Arndale Shopping Centre”
It isn’t a brilliant idea to accuse your government of whipping up prejudice against Muslims, when it is actually trying its very best to protect all its citizens from murderous Al Qaeda directed attacks. Not only does that hamper the fight against terrorism. It also handicaps the struggle against anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia.
Inayat Bunglawala’s vanity project, iEngage, sadly lost its gig as the secretariat to the APPG on Islamophobia. These sorts of misjudgements are another good illustration of how wise the decision to give them the boot was.
Let us not forget:
– Azzam “I bet you it will turn out to be a hoax” Tamimi
– Salma “Don’t pick on the beheading plotters!” Yaqoob (whoops!)
It is a hat trick!
A cynical person might suggest that the purpose of the repeated rubbishing of police anti-terrorist operations was to discourage the reporting of suspicions of terrorism, while creating the false impression that Muslims are persecuted by the state in Britain. I’m sure this isn’t what they’re doing, intentionally.