In February 2009, Osama Saeed of the Scottish Islamic Foundation discussed his views on Neil MacGregor, who had recently been arrested following threats to Strathclyde Police to bomb Glasgow Central Mosque as well as kidnapping and beheading one Muslim in Scotland per day until all Scottish mosques were closed.
Saeed contended (as did with Yousuf Hamid) was that there was a media wide bias to under-report threats against Muslims, coupled with a salacious desire to cover reports of threatening Muslims regardless of relevance.
In one of those reports which were not appearing, Saeed stated:
”MacGregor can count himself lucky that his trial took place at the Sheriff Court rather than the High Court, where terrorism cases normally go, and the punishment is stiffer.
“This apparent discrepancy has to be explained.”
There is no apparent about it. That MacGregor appeared before a Sheriff Court was undisputed. The immediate reason was because, as far as I can see, he was *not* charged under terrorism-related offences, as implied by Saeed, but racially aggravated breach of the peace. (If this recent violent attack turns out to be race-related, and even if it does not, I cannot see it being heard in any Court other than a High Court.)
And, looking at the case and the relevant evidence, this appears to have been appropriate. Police had searched immediately Glasgow Central Mosque, and found no devices; MacGregor was not found in possession of any material or means to pursue a campaign of violence. He, in short, comes across as a bigoted twat mouthing off: who then apologized profusely on the SIFblog:
Dear Osama Saeed
I visited your website today Monday 9th March 2009 & read the article about my threats towards the Glasgow Central Mosque.
I understand your anger & understand that you wish to make an example of me, really I do, but please understand & allow me to make a few points:
a) There is no record of me anywhere of any interest from me towards membership of the National Front or any non- legal or racist group.
b) I have never shown any anger previous my threats towards any Muslim or the religion of Islam & of course non since.
c) There was no explosives or any equipment capable of making explosives in my property during the dawn raids made on my home by the CID.
d) All my threats though not acceptable were verbal & no one was harmed.
e) I have apologized both verbally & written to the Glasgow Central Mosque since.
I have since become a regular Church attendee & follow GODS will that we should all love & respect each other. I have no ill feelings towards Muslims & understand that there are far more attacks Christian on Christian than Muslim on Christian & again apologize unreservedly to you & everyone connected with both Glasgow Central Mosque & the Scottish Islamic Foundation.
I am not a far right extremist
Peace be with you
But, bigoted twats – even apologetic ones – still can cause difficulties for all levels of society and it is only proper that he be punished. MacGregor has now received three years probation, with Sheriff Andrew Mackie ruling that a custodial sentence would not be helpful as the root causes lay with MacGregor’s mental health problems. If this is so, I entrust that part of his sentencing involves psychiatric evaluation and monitoring.