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Why was this anti-Semitic maniac given a slap on the wrist?

A knife-wielding man who terrorised a kosher supermarket has been spared jail. The justice system is broken.

Georgia L Gilholy

Topics UK

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‘Are you okay?’ Those were the words a friend texted me on a drizzly day this January. My safety had not come to their mind by chance, but because a knife-wielding man was on the rampage at a kosher supermarket down the street from my flat in Golders Green, north-west London.

The attacker, later identified as 34-year-old Gabriel Abdullah, demanded that staff at Kay’s kosher supermarket tell him whether the shop’s owners supported ‘Israel or Palestine’. He then returned with a knife. He was valiantly rebuffed by staff with a broom and a shopping trolley until the Shomrim, a Jewish neighbourhood watch force, arrived. Thankfully, no one was injured and Abdullah was arrested by police.

Over the next few months, I was puzzled by the near-total media silence on the incident. Would the press be as apparently indifferent if a far-right white nationalist had attacked a halal butcher’s? Such double standards are now so obvious that they require scant discussion here.

Abdullah has since been charged and sentenced. Incredibly, he has only been convicted of affray and possession of a weapon. This week, GB News, and thus far no one else, reported he had been handed down two suspended sentences at Harrow Crown Court – one for 18 months and a second for 12 months. Both are suspended for two years. He will also be made to attend ‘rehabilitation activities’. Despite threatening the lives of innocent people for being Jewish or for working at a Jewish business, Abdullah has been spared prison.

Unfortunately, this is hardly surprising. There is a lengthy list of violent criminals and terrorists known to the authorities who either spent all of five minutes inside a cell or avoided jail completely. In some cases, they have then gone on to commit horrendous crimes. Take the example of Ali Harbi Ali, the Islamist extremist who murdered Conservative MP David Amess in 2021. Ali had been referred to Prevent, the government’s deradicalisation initiative, seven years before he brutally stabbed Amess. But after a single meeting, Ali was not checked on again.

It seems that criminals are no longer treated as responsible individuals and given their due punishments. The few who are sent to jail find themselves inside semi-lawless enclaves awash with drugs, disorder and radicalisation.

Sentencing guidelines are no longer about justice, but about keeping the population of our already brimming prisons down. Victims and the safety of the general public rarely appear to enter the equation. Last October, Lord Edis, England and Wales’ top judge, said that criminals currently on bail should have their sentences delayed due to prison overcrowding. Rapists and thieves are thought to have dodged jail as a consequence. Similarly, last month, there were reports that dangerous criminals could be freed more than two months early to alleviate pressure on prisons, which are now 110 per cent beyond capacity.

With police resources stretched and prisons overflowing, many people are correctly concerned that shoplifting, muggings and even sexual offences have been de facto decriminalised. Crime is out of control. Our shambolic statistics are probably failing to capture the scale of the problem, with many people hesitant to even bother reporting criminal incidents. The assumption is that they won’t be investigated, never mind punished.

Labour has pledged to build more prison spaces in an attempt to tackle overcrowding and has made noises about cracking down on shoplifting. But the party’s overtures to NIMBYs and Keir Starmer’s hyper-progressive tenure at the Criminal Prosecution Service should make voters sceptical of these promises.

So, in answer to my friend’s question all those months ago, I am okay. But Britain is not.

Georgia Gilholy is a freelance journalist and social media consultant for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics UK

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