Muslim minority discrimination is not limited to law-abiding citizens who happen to subsribe to an alternate world view. Its presence is also felt in the treatment of the Muslim minority at the hands of the government authorities and the right-wing neocon-serving media outlets in the context of the criminal justice system. Most of the disparity in treatment is “in your face”, but there is often subtlety to the discrimination employed too.
Studies have already suggested that there is an indication towards minority/racial discrimination in the contexts of conviction remand and sentencing patterns. Those who have studied the Criminal Justice System are fully aware of the culture of bias within enforcement authorities. The treatment of the Muslim minority, is evident through the daily onslaught of media reporting regarding Islam and Muslims
Take for example of the treatment of Michael Adebolajo. His brother Jeremiah whilst expressing his utmost sympathies for the family of Lee Rigby, recently made some interesting remarks which could point to a potential miscarriage of justice despite the heinousness of the crime,
“It seems strange to me that a man can be sentenced to life for the death of one man and another man can be sentenced to 40 years for the death of one man and the attempted murder of many others,” he told BBC Radio 5 live’s Victoria Derbyshire on Wednesday morning. “I wonder what the difference is here … It seems strange that [the judge] can suggest there is no prospect of rehabilitation for my brother and there is a prospect of rehabilitation for [Pavlo Lapshyn] who openly stated he wished to create a race war.”
Pavlo Lapshyn, a white supremacist terrorist who stabbed an elderly Muslim man to death in a street due to his hate of Muslims was a terrorist in the true sense of the word. He wanted to harm non-military individuals and even attempted to bomb masaajid on a number of occasions. His motives were racial hate, his target was civilians including children and his actions followed through his motive. Yet he served 40 years.
Adebolajo was a victim of torture in Kenya and constant harassment by British secret services. His victim was a military target, something which he has constantly attested to in public. His motives were, in his own words,
“…because of foreign policy. Not to intimidate the public. If I wanted to intimidate the public, I would have killed a member of the public, I didn’t — I chose a soldier. We were both soldiers.”
Despite the limited remit of his acts, both in motive and target, Adebolajo was sentenced to life imprisonment. Taking into account the above short analysis, the media dehumanisation of Adebolajo in comparison to the fairly standard reporting of Lapshyn, Adebolajo’s hype-driven decision is tantamount to discrimination.
This discrimination is also effectual much earlier in the criminal justice system process.
A 19 year old British soldier, Ryan McGee, has been charged over alleged improvised bomb found at home in Salford. What is pertinent is that his terrorist tendencies were known last year as he was arrested and then bailed. was there mass media reporting? Perhaps a spread on how white youth are being radicalised by the Christian EDL or Casuals United? Or maybe a statement from security services detailing how potential British army recruits may bring back their perception of war against “muzzies” and wage it against the Muslim minority?
Compare this to how the Muslim minority are being treated in the context of the Syria “blowback”. The news regarding the arrest and humiliating raids are broad-spread in the media upon arrest and before being charged.
The Muslim minority, due to the blatant fear-mongering on the part of the media, UK Government and the enforcement authorities, are being unjustly targeted. The effect of this has now resulted in the clear disparity of treatment between the Muslim minority and, certainly in the above cases, the perceived majority, in the context of the criminal justice system at varying levels.
The UK Government has an international reputation as a human rights supporter and has often, in the international human rights discourse aired its contention to the treatment of minorities at the hands of other states. Speaking from its mantle of moral superiority it has suppressed the reality of minority discrimination in the UK against the Muslim minority which is being experienced on a daily basis. Perhaps the reality of the Muslim minority discrimination needs to be brought to international attention.