Call for consistency in terror-related sentencing

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Muslim fury as racist gets probation sentence for threatening to behead Muslims

BRITISH Muslims have called for consistency in the sentences being handed out to those who are found guilty of terror-related offences.

The call comes after 35-year-old Scot Neil MacGregor was sentenced to just three years probation earlier this month for threatening to blow up Glasgow Central Mosque and behead one Muslim a week.

The Scottish Islamic Foundation said the sentencing had angered the Muslim community who feel he would have been treated more harshly if he was a Muslim.

MacGregor pleaded guilty at Glasgow Sheriff Court earlier this year to sending a race hate email to Strathclyde Police threatening to blow up the city’s biggest Mosque.

The 35-year-old also threatened to behead one Muslim a week in response to the killing of Ken Bigley who was kidnapped and beheaded in Iraq in 2004.

In one threatening e-mail to police – which led to his conviction – Macgregor, 36, wrote: “I’m a proud racist and National Front member.

“We as an organisation have decided to deal with the current threat from Muslims in our own British way, like our proud ancestors.

“Our demands are very small. Close all mosques in Scotland. We see this is very easy – even you guys can handle that.

“If our demands aren’t met by next Friday, we’ll kidnap one Muslim and execute him or her on the internet, just like they did to our Ken Bigley.”

Sentencing MacGregor to three years probation, Sheriff Andrew Mackie said he did not believe custody would help to address the root cause of his problem which was his mental health.

The sentencing was met with fury from leading British Muslims.

Asif Ahmed, Chairman of the Scottish-Islamic Foundation, said the case was being taken amongst Muslims as evidence of the double standards that exists when it comes to terrorism.

“It’s all too easy to dismiss MacGregor as a fantasist and lunatic. Many of the Muslims convicted of terror offences could be similarly described,” Mr Ahmed said.

“MacGregor has admitted that he was radicalised after viewing videos of beheadings in Iraq. It is our contention that had a young Muslim viewed such images on the internet and threatened violence as a result, the outcome would have been quite different. No one seems to have looked into the internet habits that radicalised MacGregor to take copycat revenge for Ken Bigley’s assassination in Iraq.”

“MacGregor can thus count himself lucky. Consistency needs to be seen and the authorities have got to explain the apparent discrepancies.”

Inayat Bunglawala, media secretary for the Muslim Council of Britain, added it was “important that the authorities [were] consistent and fair in their application of the law to all citizens regardless of their faith.”

Writing for the Guardians Comment is Free, Muslim Council of Britain he compared the case of MacGregor to that of 21-year-old Scottish student, Mohammed Atif Siddique, who was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of terrorism-related charges.

Mr Bunglawala quoted a column written in the Scotsman which pointed out “… there was no evidence to indicate [Mohammed Atif Siddique] was actually planning to carry out an attack, or in touch with anyone who was.”

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