The government has been straining, as have liberally inclined people, to make a distinction between British Muslims—about two million in a nation of 60 million—and 'terrorists seen as criminals'. This is the new, saner terminology adopted by current premier Gordon Brown. But as British Muslims have discovered after getting hit by another perception wave that every Muslim is a potential terrorist, that distinction is easier to declare than to accept.
Muslim groups took out full-page advertisements in leading dailies after the attacks to separate themselves from these last attacks, and to declare the terrorists criminals rather than Muslims. Says Ghiyasuddin Siddiqui, leader of the Muslim Parliament in Britain: "Muslims are shocked and unhappy because they know ultimately they will be at the receiving end. After all, when something like this happens the native population becomes angry. It is understandable." That distinction between a peaceful Muslim community as opposed to a criminal few is correct but the government could be running into its own difficulties in making that neat separation.