Inayat Bunglawala muses on teenager convicted for looking at terrorist stuff

Terrorist – or just a curious teenager?

While there is undeniably a terror threat to Britain, the government has been more than eager to exaggerate the extent of the danger

The conviction of Hammaad Munshi as Britain’s “youngest terrorist” – he was a 16-year-old about to take his GCSEs when he was arrested two years ago – marks an appalling new low in the use of section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 which states:

A person commits an offence if … he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

I argued previously on Cif during the case of the “lyrical terrorist” that this is a vaguely-worded piece of legislation that seeks to criminalise people’s thoughts. In effect, it says that if you possess material that teaches you how to make explosives, even if you are just reading it and do not intend to do anything wrong, well, someone else who reads it may – so, er, you are guilty.

Let’s look at what had Hammaad Munshi is actually said to have done. According to all accounts of the case, Munshi surfed the internet and is said to have downloaded material about the making of napalm and other explosives. He also had “al-Qa’ida propaganda videos” on his PC.

So what? That’s freedom folks. Just think how many British teenagers have got hold of the Anarchist’s Cookbook over the years and how much easier the internet has made it to seek out and read such material? How many of them went on to become terrorists? And if people want to download videos of US army tanks being blasted apart by Iraqi resistance fighters then that is surely their own business, right? Where have all the “free speech” warriors gone now?

Note that Munshi was not convicted of any actual plan to carry out a terrorist attack – it is just presumed that that is what he would have graduated to do because the state now wants to have the right to police our minds.

Oh, I nearly forgot: “Two bags of ballbearings – described as the shrapnel of choice for suicide bombers – were found in one of his pockets.”

Well, I suppose there could not possibly be any lawful reason why a person might have some ball-bearings in one of their pockets.

In court, Munshi’s lawyers tried unsuccessfully to argue that he had collected the internet material out of teenage ‘curiosity’.

Munshi is due to be sentenced in September and faces up to 10 years in jail.

The continuing reluctance of Muslim organisations to speak out forcefully against the malicious use of anti-terror legislation in cases such as this is deplorable. It appears that many of them are either too afraid to raise their voices for fear of being branded as terrorist sympathisers and “fellow travellers” or are worried that they might lose lucrative Preventing Violent Extremism money from the government. They should be ashamed of themselves.

For too many young British Muslims like Munshi, the UK has come to resemble a republic of fear.

While there is undeniably a terror threat to this country, it is also apparent that this government has been more than eager to exaggerate the extent of the danger posed by people like Munshi in order to generate panic and fear among us. All the better to distract us from the horrific scale of their own misdeeds due to their warmongering abroad. Of course, members of the government who lied to us in order to shore up support for an illegal invasion of a sovereign country that posed no threat to us could never be thought of as terrorists

“While there is undeniably a terror threat to Britain, the government has been more than eager to exaggerate the extent of the danger.”

Although Inayat is quite happy for groups like Islamophobia Watch and the Respect Party to exaggerate the danegr of “Islamophobia” for their own ends.

” Of course, members of the government who lied to us in order to shore up support for an illegal invasion of a sovereign country that posed no threat to us could never be thought of as terrorists.”

Nice bit of moral relatvism there.

 

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