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Muslims speak out against Columbine plot teens

Will Astbury

It seems that some of the Muslim community are speaking out about the acquittal of the two Manchester teenagers who were said to have plotted a Columbine-esq massacre of their classmates.

Sixteen-year-old Ross McKnight and 18-year-old Matthew Swift, both from, were charged with conspiracy to cause explosions with intent to endanger life and conspiracy to commit murder.

However, the jury accepted the boys’ testimony and said the plot had just been “immature fantasy”.

This result has led to questions being asked by some members of the Muslim community who want to know if the boys would have been treated the same if they believed in Islam?

The Muslim News, an online newspaper, spoke about what would have happened if the boys had been Muslim, saying: “They most probably would have been arrested, charged and convicted under the terrorism legislation.”

The Jury decided the on the boys’ futures after just 45 minutes of deliberation and murmurs of relief could be heard from the gallery when the verdict was announced to the court.

M Ali posted a comment on the website of Manchester Evening News after it was announced that boys had been cleared, it read: “Imagine if two boys of the same age as Mr McKnight and Mr Swift, that were Muslim, were doodling in books etc. about bombing a school and a shopping mall, the media coverage and the outcome of the case – I can almost guarantee it would be totally different from this, it’s a given.”

The two teens were arrested six months ago after McKnight bragged about the plans to a friend when he was drunk. She contacted the police.

Computers and journals, which contained entries that referred to a plan to “kill thousands”, were confiscated from the pair by officers when the investigation began. The journal entries said the massacre was planned to mark the 10th anniversary of the massacre in Columbine.

At one point during the trial Roderick Carus QC, Ross McKnight’s barrister, reportedly said that people in Britain are incredibly concerned about their own security and added: “And rightly so, if not the IRA, it’s Muslim extremists and so forth.”

However Mr Carus reiterated that young people must not be condemned because flights of fancy

McKnight had to sit his GCSEs in Hindley Young Offenders’ Institute, where he has been since March. Swift spent this time in Strangeways.

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