Scrolling news:

Police told to drop ‘jihadi’ terminology

28th Aug 2020
Police told to drop ‘jihadi’ terminology

Despite being described as “post-modernist crusader” by experts the faith of Brenton Tarrant, the killer of  50 Muslims in New Zealand was not represented in headlines compared to the Muslim peperators of terrorism.

 

Elham Asaad Buaras

Counter Terrorism Police in the UK have been urged to stop using terms such as “jihadist” and “Islamist” when describing terror attacks by perpetrators claiming Islam as their motive.

The reform was requested by the National Association of Muslim Police (NAMP) that blamed the official use of “Islamist” and “jihadi” for negative perceptions and stereotypes, discrimination and Islamophobia.

They also argued the terminologies were catering to groups such as the self-styled Islamic State who prefer to label themselves according to their religion rather than a political movement. The problem was discussed at an online Counter Terrorism Advisory Network event on June 18.

The virtual meeting was addressed by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the National Police Chiefs Council lead for counter terrorism policing, and attended by more than 70 attack survivors, victims’ relatives, academics, experts and advocacy groups.

Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, the national co-ordinator for the controversial deradicalisation programme Prevent, said that the Counter Terrorism Advisory Network had met because Muslim officers were “concerned that terminology may contribute to the stigmatising of innocent Muslims in the UK”.

“[Mr] Basu encouraged honest and open discussion from all sides and did not at any point suggest that terminology was definitely going to change, simply that it was right that we have an evidence-based discussion about it. We have no plans to change the terminology we use at present but welcomed the debate and contributions.

“It’s vital we get our terminology right to define the threat accurately and succinctly but also to avoid alienating communities crucial to our efforts,” added Adams.

The police emphasised to The Times that the reform was not certain to go ahead. “Islamist extremism” is one of the terms alongside “extreme right-wing” and “Northern Ireland-related” used by counterterrorism experts to label attackers according to their ideology.

Atrocities from the London bombings of 2005 to the Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester Arena attacks, all in 2017, have been formally attributed to “Islamist terrorism”.

The Chair of 3,000-strong NAMP, Alexander Gent, who addressed the meeting, told The Muslim News, “The relationship between policing and Muslims is so often defined by the Counter Terrorism narrative, and we therefore believe it is imperative to have meaningful dialogue between the two to improve community trust and reassurance.

Ultimately, NAMP would like to see a cultural change in the way we talk about terrorism, and for us all to use language which does not unfairly stigmatise a whole community of people.”

Far-right terrorists such as Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, had adopted Christian symbolism such as the crusades “yet terms such as ‘Christianist’ or ‘crusaderist’ are not used to describe them”, it added.

Speaking to The Muslim News a spokesman for human rights group CAGE said, “The arguments put forward by counter-terrorism ‘experts’ are incorrect.

Statistics produced by Europol over the years have shown that the majority of acts of violence such as these are committed for secular causes. Yet, in the media, the perpetrators are never classified in the way Muslims are, nor are their race or beliefs demonised.”

“It’s long been recognised that associating Islam or Islamic concepts such as Jihad with terrorism is not only inaccurate but has fuelled Islamophobia on the ground, while allowing politicians and ‘think-tanks’ to campaign and facilitate unnecessary securitisation of society,” added CAGE.

Leave a Comment

What is 15 + 10 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)

Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

Latest Tweets