No Laughing Matter…
I don’t know if it comes as a major surprise that the murderers behind last week’s terrorist attacks in London were of British nationality. Perhaps the bigger shock is that they were, so it now seems (and contrary to initial reports from the British police as recently as Saturday), willing to sacrifice their own lives in their perverted pursuit of hatred. The worry among ordinary Britons – of all stripes – that further potential suicide bombers live among them is likely to run deeper than the fear of actually getting on an underground train.
Driving home last night from an extended weekend upstate (making the most of our Campbell being in England), we listened closely to the hour-long BBC World News report about the home-grown terrorists. That’s my terminology of course: as Roger Mosey, the Head of BBC News, writes in today’s Guardian, while that the term “terrorist” has not actually been banned,
“the word is contentious in some contexts on our international services, hence the recommendation that it be employed with care.”
Everyone knows that the BBC never actually bans anything. But put it this way: I’m not seeing any derivative of the word “terror” used by reporters themselves anywhere on the BBC’s many online news pages and am certainly not hearing or seeing it on the World News reports either: they’re going with the term “bombers” instead. (It could be worse. They could just call them “insurgents.”)
It was perhaps more informative to hear Lord Ahmed of Rotherham parse certain other words as pejorative. On the same World News radio report, he expressed, in no uncertain terms, his absolute outrage at the attacks and yet questioned Tony Blair’s initial assertion that these terrorists were “Islamic extremists.” Ahmed was not disputing that the terrorists were extremists, but said he could not possibly allow that anything about their actions was Islamic.
I take his point: I don’t consider it a Christian act, for example, to murder doctors who perform abortions. Ahmed seems to be suggesting – in which case I fully support him – that perhaps the only way we can ever move forward and away from this global terrorist danger is for those in whose name such attacks are carried out to vehemently, vocally and unequivocally disassociate themselves from the killers. Remove even the slightest hint of grass roots support and acquiescence. Stand up for peace and tolerance. And do not allow your own beliefs to be hijacked for terrorist gain.