Enough innuendoes are enough

28th Jul 2017
Enough innuendoes are enough

Prime Minister Theresa May here with US President Donald Trump must re-engage with mainstream Muslim bodies if she is to counter extremism (Photo: Shealah Craighead/Official White House/CC)

“Enough is enough,” Prime Minister, Theresa May, declared after a series of terrorist attacks during last month’s general election campaign. It was perhaps too much to hope that she was about to finally accept the repeated failure of Government strategies to counter the scourge of terrorism from British streets. By the security services’ own admission the problem appears to be on the rise, yet unfortunately, there appears to be no indication of reflecting on the efficacy of the current approach.

In the light of the attacks in Manchester and London, the Government will, according to the Queen’s Speech, be reviewing its counter-terrorism strategy “to ensure that the police and security services have all the powers they need, and that the length of custodial sentences for terrorism-related offences are sufficient to keep the population safe.” It sounds just more of the same with the possibility of further draconian laws. If the names of those expected to be in charge of the new counter terrorism body are correct, nothing will change. Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, has all but acknowledged that police resources may have been overstretched following cuts and that counter-terrorism operations cannot continue at an emergency level indefinitely.

Over in the US, President Donald Trump’s assertions that the media does not cover terrorist attacks by Muslim perpetrators enough has been proven to be entirely false. As reported on page 4, an academic study instead found terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims in the United States are far less common than those carried out by other terrorists yet they are grossly disproportionately reported by the media. According to an analysis of all terrorist attacks in the US between 2011 and 2015, perpetrators identified as Muslim were responsible for 12.4 percent of the attacks yet received 41.4 percent of the news coverage.

The research, carried out at Georgia State University, questioned whether the US media was making people disproportionately fearful of Muslims. “Whether the disproportionate coverage is a conscious decision on the part of journalists or not, this stereotyping reinforces cultural narratives about what and who should be feared.” The same can be said about the UK, where certain sections of the media, as well as some politicians, seem to feed upon prejudices and racist attitudes, made worse also in particularly by coining such phrases as ‘radical Islamist terrorists’ and ‘Jihadists.’

There have been too many fallacies and misconceptions that have resulted in Muslims in Britain being monitored from cradle to grave. Worst is the ill-founded and pernicious claim that terrorism is somehow to do with Islam, erroneous or not. Muslims are the biggest victims of Daesh and its manifestations. To suggest that the terrorism obscenities it espouses have anything to do with religion is not only an affront to Islam and its 1.6 billion adherents but it plays into the very agenda it is trying to propagate. The West cannot be doing more to help an eventual war of civilisations.

Britain along with the US and its allies has not taken care to prevent Muslim civilian casualties by the way they have bombarded Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Often Muslim civilian casualties – many a time via drones – have been termed “collateral damage” like the hospitals and wedding receptions are wrongly attacked.

Treating Muslims themselves as third-class citizens in Britain, Europe and America is hardly akin to good community relations. Using religious terms to describe Daesh and its associates such as “Islamist” and “Jihadist” as well as other innuendoes only add insult to injury. And the failure by the UK Government of publishing its own report into the funding of terrorists only leads to the suspicion that ministers have something to hide or may even have another agenda.

Last month’s terrorist attack in Finsbury Park was waiting to happen. The Government has largely ignored the rising tides of Islamophobia with little action. Hatred towards Muslims unfortunately in some quarters appears to have become part of the cultural air with so many attacks being ignored or underreported over the last few years. It has not helped when the Government refuses to have any relations with mainstream Muslim organisation but rather prefers to use those it has helped to create or fund to hear what it wants to hear instead. It may be a good point to start if really thinking ‘enough is enough.’

 

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