Labour attacks ‘double standards’ on anti-Islamic terrorism

The government has been accused of "double-standards" in its treatment of terrorism cases for failing to include alleged anti-Islamic attacks on a taskforce tackling extremism.

Explosions at three mosques in the West Midlands and the stabbing of Mohammed Saleem in Birmingham have not been discussed by the taskforce set up following the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich.

Critics say the differing treatment of attacks on Islamic targets shows the government takes the incidents less seriously than it does when Muslims are the perpetrators.

"These terrorist attacks, including the murder of Mr Saleem, are vile, appalling attempts to divide our communities," shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper told the Independent.

"It is essential that there is serious engagement by government with the communities who have faced these threats.

"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."

Pavlo Lapshyn, 25, from the Ukraine, has been charged with one count of murder and two under the Explosive Substances Act following the attacks.

The home secretary said the taskforce did take into account anti-Muslim extremism but that its main task was policy formulation, not strategy.

"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," Theresa May said.

"We have already made clear that it should address all forms of extremism."

The attacks against mosques have also received far less press coverage than the murder of Lee Rigby. The last explosion did not feature as the lead on any newspaper's front page.