Labour MP and Shadow Home Office minister, Chris Bryant, has criticised David Cameron’s response to bomb attacks on three West Midlands mosques and the murder of Mohammed Saleem, in a visit to one of the affected mosques, the Express & Star reports.
On a visit to Kanz-ul-Iman Central Jamia Mosque in Tipton Mr Bryant said it was a ‘shame’ that the Prime Minister had not issued a statement about the attacks in Tipton, Walsall and Wolverhampton.
During his visit on Friday, Mr Bryant also criticised the government’s response to the killing of Birmingham pensioner, Mohammed Saleem, in April.
He said: “Britain quite rightly was very angry about the killing of Lee Rigby. But I think some people feel a bit as if we haven’t been quite so exercised about this incident, and that is certainly the feeling of some people in this community. It’s a shame we have not seen the Prime Minister say anything about it.
“He could have been more forceful about attacks on the Muslim community.”
Last week, West Midlands Police Deputy Chief Constable Dave Thompson, wrote on his blog of the ‘low level’ of media reporting on the terror attacks in the West Midlands asking whether the targetting of ‘another faith’ would elicit more coverage.
Adding to Bryant’s remarks, Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, in a letter to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, iterated concerns that the Government Taskforce set up after the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby on Woolwich address the problem of “terror attacks on Muslim communities as well as Islamist extremism”.
Cooper said: “These terrorist attacks, including the murder of Mr Saleem, are vile, appalling attempts to divide our communities. It is essential that there is serious engagement by government with the communities who have faced these threats.”
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…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.”
Responding to questions raised by Cooper on the remit of the new Taskforce, Mrs May 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 disparity between policy initiatives on tackling far right violent extremism and resources dedicated to tackling ‘Al-Qai’da inspired terrorism’ has been a criticism consistently levelled at the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy.
The Home Affairs select committee in its report last year on The Roots of Violent Radicalisation, observed:
“The Prevent Strategy should outline more clearly the actions to be taken to tackle far right radicalisation as well as explicitly acknowledge the potential interplay between different forms of violent extremism, and the potential for measures directed at far-right extremism to have a consequential effect on Islamist extremism, and vice versa.”