Press Release from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
Saturday's apparent attack on Glasgow airport has shocked everyone in Scotland. The police officers and members of the public who so unexpectedly found themselves on the front line can be proud of their actions. Without their courage, the consequences of the incident could have been a great deal more serious.
The people travelling in the car that drove into the terminal building will no doubt appear in court in due course. We hope that the police will be successful in bringing to justice anyone else responsible for the incident. But we hope that in doing this they will maintain the high standards set by the officers on the scene and will avoid the kind of dragnet operations that have previously characterised terrorism investigations on both sides of the border. Operations of that kind don't protect us from terrorism. They create miscarriages of justice, undermine community relations and spread fear.
The interests of justice will be served best if police stick to the tried and trusted methods contained in the ordinary criminal law, and avoid using the divisive powers granted them under terrorism laws. The ordinary criminal law was enough to deal with the mass murders at Dunblane and Hungerford. It should also be enough to deal with Saturday's apparent attempt at mass murder.
The motives for Saturday's incident can't yet be known with complete certainty. But few people will be surprised if it turns out that the perpetrators were making a criminally misguided response to our government's wars of aggression in the Middle East and its demonisation of Muslims at home. If that is the case, we fear that the entire Muslim community put under the spotlight yet again. That shouldn't happen.
History shows that whenever people are beset by war and oppression, a few of them make the catastrophic mistake of turning to terrorism for a remedy. Nothing about that process is specific to the Muslim community and none of us - Muslim or non-Muslim - will solve the problem by wasting time on analysis of that community.
Gordon Brown says that "the first duty of the government is the security and safety of all the British people." But he was part of a goverment that sent British troops into action in the Middle East, spreading mayhem across the region. destabilising the world and - as all serious analysts now agree - greatly increasing the risk of terrorist attacks on Britain. It's time for the government to acknowledge that it has failed in its first duty and take action to make amends. A good start would be to bring the troops home.
When all is said and done, let's remember that fewer people were hurt in the Glasgow airport incident than in the the football-related violence in Shettleston on the same day.
SACC, 1 July