UK Police are told to “take it easy on Muslim extremists for fear of radicalizing them even more.”
UK Officers will be advised not to proceed when evidence of lawbreaking is “borderline”. Examples of crimes to which a blind eye may be turned include incitement to religious hatred or viewing extremist material on the internet.
Last night critics warned that the move could mean Islamic radicals are being given the freedom to encourage violence. Some saw the move as a politically correct attempt to appease extremists who hate Britain.
It could even mean officers tolerating many activities of Muslim preachers of hate like the hook-handed cleric Abu Hamza. Tory MP David Davies said: “This sounds like abject surrender. Everyone should be equal in the eyes of the law. (If it looks like a duck…)
“It doesn’t matter whether someone is suspected of incitement to hatred or shoplifting – they should all face the same risk of prosecution. “There should be no special favours or treatment for any section of the community.”
Instead, they want to avoid alienating Muslims on the fringes of extremism by dragging them to court over petty allegations unlikely to result in conviction. One fear is that some young Muslims are falling under the influence of extremist preachers while serving prison sentences or on remand awaiting trial.
A senior Whitehall official said the guidance was being drawn up as part of a drive to use persuasion rather than the criminal justice system to fight extremism.