Islamists are not the same as other prisoners

The terrorist attack by Usman Khan on a prisoner rehabilitation conference in London was made possible by two catastrophic and tragic misjudgments.

The first was by the Court of Appeal, which changed Khan’s sentence. At the root of their mistake lay a failure to understand fanatical Islam.

This failure also characterised the second misjudgment, by both the group that had invited Khan to its conference and the probation service which enabled him to attend: believing that he was a reformed character. This was rooted in a deeper refusal to acknowledge the unique challenges of Islamic extremism, a mistake made by most of the justice establishment.

The liberal West wants to believe every criminal is redeemable. Some are. Others are not. Islamic radicalism challenges the liberal orthodoxy that there can be no difference in treatment between groups. The nature and scale of this challenge, however, requires a unique response.

With such observations being silenced as “Islamophobic”, rational concerns for public safety have been stigmatised instead as an obnoxious mental disorder. Unless the establishment gathers its courage and its wits to face that intimidation down, Friday’s atrocity is unlikely to be the last.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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