The arrests of serving Neo-Nazi British soldiers over terror offences were made earlier this week. The four men detained are alleged members of the proscribed group National Action, a Bristish neo-nazi group whose members and supporters applauded the killing of MP Jo Cox. Three of the four men reportedly serve in a regiment that is deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, all arrested on suspicion of the ‘commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism’ under the Terrorism Act.
It must be noted, though unsurprising to us, that despite making the news, this story has not been treated with the attention and seriousness with which it deserves. Not only have all traces of this story vanished from the pages of the tabloid press, one would be equally hard pressed to find any mention or reference to it on even more credible news outlets, barring one or two. We can only imagine what uproar would ensue if these men professed any claim to Islam and Muslims – there would be the inevitable calls for an inquiry, a Cobra meeting, and public statements reassuring the public on the inviolability of National Security. We know this because some WhatsApp messages exchanged by Muslim governors in Birmingham leaked in a letter to the media alleging a Trojan horse conspiracy to Islamise Birmingham schools sparked a national scandal and hysteria was whipped up about Muslims taking over schools.
The “Trojan horse” letter itself was quickly discredited as a fake, but the lies it contained were resuscitated and sustained on tabloid headlines relentlessly churned out for months on end to give credence to the alleged threat with references to “radicals”, “jihad plot”, “Islamists” and other similar loaded terms reserved exclusively for the Muslim minority community. Government Ministers such as Michael Gove, a trustee of the insidious Henry Jackson Society, publicly criticized the approach of the Home Office (then run by Theresa May) with respect to tackling non-violent extremism, ordering the Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism lead to investigate the matter, remarking that there was a need to “drain the swamp” and not wait for “the crocodiles to reach the boat”. Government reports, parliamentary hearings and a number of inquiries followed. We now see the reverse approach taken against a real and significant concern, whereas a fabricated story involving “Muslims” is afforded top level Government oversight.
Now, not only has the Ministry of Defence ruled out a wider investigation into extremism in the British Army, there appears to be no urgency in investigating just how far-reaching, and to what extent this infiltration has spread in order to “drain the swamp”.
Only earlier this year, we have read reports of a German soldier posing as a Syrian refugee in order to launch a “false flag” terror attack. The German Government and Military have subsequently launched investigations into a suspected network of extremists and radicalisation in the Bundeswehr. We urge a similar approach, thus allaying concerns regarding the promotion of equality and tackling discrimination within the forces. This will also go a long way to protecting the reputation of the British Army in the eyes of all minority groups including the Muslim community who it appears are being singled out to swear allegiance to the army when there has been no suggestion of any other faith community being urged to do likewise.
Last year, the Karimia Mosque in Nottingham and the Leicester Central Mosque signed the Armed Forces Covenant with the army, formalising their support for the Armed Forces. This is despite survey after survey confirming British Muslims to be some of the most loyal citizens in the country.