The Government has been accused of double standards in the way it responded to the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby compared to the killing of an 82-year-old Muslim and explosions at three mosques in the West Midlands. Although the stabbing of Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham in April is regarded by police as a terrorist incident, Labour is concerned that it has not been discussed by the task force on extremism set up by David Cameron after the Woolwich killing in May. That was followed by explosions at mosques in Walsall, Tipton and Wolverhampton.
Yvette Cooper, the shadow Home Secretary, has written to Theresa May, the Home Secretary, recalling that Mr Cameron said the task force would look at new ways to support local communities and take a united stand against all forms of extremism. She added: “Like others, I had assumed the Prime Minister’s task force for tackling extremism would engage seriously with the West Midlands communities concerned. Its purpose was to ask questions about attacks, what more we can do to prevent extremism and to protect our communities. Clearly it needs to cover terror attacks on Muslim communities as well as Islamist extremism. So I think it’s really important the Taskforce considers these attacks and engages with the community now.”
Replying to Ms Cooper, the Home Secretary said: “These are of course terrible crimes which have the potential to cause fear and resentment across communities and we must continue to make clear that we will not tolerate extremism which attempts to divide us.”
The Security Minister acknowledged that there was “some fear and concern” in the community. He said: “Specialist advisers have been giving security advice to mosques, Islamic schools and community centres and there have been increased police patrols and community engagement plans.”