Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The vanishing M and I Words

I noted this week that the BBC had started to emphasise the non-Britishness and immigration status of terrorist suspects or arrestees - in stark contrast to their reporting of criminal cases.

Here we see common-or-garden young killer Hannad Hassan, described by the BBC as "Hasan, 17, of Colindale, north London" and by the Telegraph as "Hannad Hasan, 17, a Somalian refugee".

Contrast that with the coverage of these three.

"Al-Daour, who was born in the UAE and lived in Bayswater, had CDs containing instructions for making explosives and poisons."

"Moroccan-born Tsouli, of Shepherd's Bush"

If they'd just murdered someone they'd have been "Al-Daour, of Bayswater" and "Tsouli, of Shepherd's Bush" (the third guy was UK born).

So if a criminal's a foreigner we don't mention it, still less if he's a refugee or asylum seeker. Don't want to encourage xenophobia, do we ? But terrorists, since 7/7, are a different kettle of fish. The name of the game is now social cohesion, the celebration of commonality rather than difference. If a jihadi is a foreigner, we'll emphasise the fact.

The Today programme has a fascinating debate (20 mins in, RealAudio) on what seems to be a change in Government terminology. Apparently the words 'Muslim' and 'Islam' are pretty much being banned by government - and they're not "terrorists", they're "criminals". According to Nick Robinson, the M and I words did not cross the lips of either the Jelly Bellied Flag-Flapper or Home Secretary Smith during the recent comedic unpleasantnesses.

Funny - didn't the Labour Party during the Thatcher years go on about how unhelpful it was to call the IRA "criminals", that they were rational people fighting for a political objective ?

It looks from this report as if the BBC are already falling into line. Maybe Mr Altimimi is a revolutionary Marxist.

1 comment:

CCTV said...

Apparently the words 'Muslim' and 'Islam' are pretty much being banned by government - and they're not "terrorists", they're "criminals"

So we will be holding "criminals" without charge for 90 days and having Anti-Terrorist Police arrest them ?

Then they will be subject to a Control Order and go AWOL

The Terrorism Act 2000 has clauses which will be employed in the fight against stret crime and burglary....

Section 1. -

(1) In this Act "terrorism" means the use or threat of action where-

(a) the action falls within subsection (2),
(b) the use or threat is designed to influence the government or to intimidate the public or a section of the public, and
(c) the use or threat is made for the purpose of advancing a political, religious or ideological cause.

(2) Action falls within this subsection if it-

(a) involves serious violence against a person,
(b) involves serious damage to property,
(c) endangers a person's life, other than that of the person committing the action,
(d) creates a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or a section of the public, or
(e) is designed seriously to interfere with or seriously to disrupt an electronic system.

(3) The use or threat of action falling within subsection (2) which involves the use of firearms or explosives is terrorism whether or not subsection (1)(b) is satisfied.

Section 41 of the Act provided the police with the power to arrest and detain a person without charge for up to 48 hours if they were suspected of being a terrorist.[4] This period of detention could be extended to up to seven days if the police can persuade a judge that it is necessary for further questioning.[5]

This was a break from ordinary criminal law where suspects had to be charged within 24 hours of detention or be released. This period was later extended to 14 days by the Criminal Justice Act 2003[6], and to 28 days by the Terrorism Act 2006.

All very confusing...will these chaps get early release when the prisons get full of rapists to make way for Council Tax defaulters ?