More, “Anything But Islam!”
With minutes to go before the BBC News at Six I was told by a senior Whitehall source that the incident was being treated as a suspected terrorist incident and being taken very seriously indeed. This information changed the news from a crime story to something of more significance. The police had, I was told, described the attackers as being “of Muslim appearance” and shouting “Allahu Akbar”. On air I directly quoted a senior Whitehall source saying that the police had used that description.
That phrase “of Muslim appearance” clearly offended some who demanded to know what it could possibly mean. Others were concerned that it was a racist generalisation.
My report and the quotation were picked up by many other news organisations as evidence that this was a terror attack. The reports of eye witnesses and the video of the attacker demonstrated that the attack had been carried out by those claiming to be retaliating because “Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers”.
Despite this and the fact that I was directly quoting a source I’m sorry for using a phrase that, on reflection, was both liable to be misinterpreted and to cause offence. Many Muslims were quick to condemn the attack and to distance themselves and their religion from the brutal savagery seen on the streets of Woolwich.
This is another example of the rules of the game. Even when discussing the Muslim angle to terrorism, one must be apologetic about it.
I would love to see a quantification of “many Muslims” as it is difficult to remember any time when there was a vociferous condemnation by the supposedly overwhelming moderate Muslim population. I’m not suggesting they don’t exist, I’m stating that they don’t protest loudly enough.
Because they’re afraid they will get killed.