Police chiefs and senior politicians moved to reassure Scotland’s Muslim communities yesterday amid fears of a backlash after the terrorist incident at Glasgow airport.
As police waited to question the two men arrested after the failed car bomb attack, the justice secretary, Kenny MacAskill, said neither was “born and bred” in Scotland. “Any suggestion to be made that they are homegrown terrorists is not true,” he said. Police said two minor incidents of racist abuse had been reported since the attacks but promised to clamp down on any backlash.
Mohammad Sarwar, the Labour MP for Glasgow Central, said constituents had been threatened since the incident. But he said there was no evidence that any of Scotland’s imams or mosques had been fomenting hatred. “The message is moderate and liberal,” he said. “Glasgow airport is used by a vast majority of Muslims and people of all faiths. This attack was an attack on all of us, on our city and our communities.”
Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, said there had “not been a peep of extremism” in Scotland to date, adding: “You hear about individuals and groups in London and elsewhere in England, but there has been no presence of this here.”
Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, also said the attack was out of character. “Scottish society is very strong, with a strong sense of community,” he said. “In Scotland, the Muslim community is part of the fabric of society, and is hugely important for social life, and this community link will remain strong.”
See also Daily Record, 2 July 2007
And Osama Saeed’s comments at Rolled Up Trousers, 1 July 2007