Terrorism? We'll Call It Anti-Islamic Activity ... Jacqui Smith: New Language

Daily Mail (London), January 18, 2008 | Go to article overview

Terrorism? We'll Call It Anti-Islamic Activity ... Jacqui Smith: New Language


Byline: James Slack

MINISTERS have adopted a new language for declarations on Islamicterrorism.

In future, fanatics will be referred to as pursuing 'anti-Islamic activity'.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said that extremists were behaving contrary totheir faith, rather than acting in the name of Islam.

Security officials believe that directly linking terrorism to Islam isinflammatory, and risks alienating mainstream Muslim opinion.

In her first major speech on radicalisation, Miss Smith repeatedly used thephrase 'anti-Islamic'.

In one passage she said: 'As so many Muslims in the UK and across the worldhave pointed out, there is nothing Islamic about the wish to terrorise, nothingIslamic about plotting murder, pain and grief.

Indeed, if anything, these actions are anti-Islamic'.

Another section referred to enlisting the Muslim community against'anti-Islamic activity'.

Her words were chosen to reflect new Government strategy on labelling theterrorists and their recruiting agents.

The shift follows a decision taken last year to stop using the phrase 'war onterror', first adopted by U.S. President Bush. Officials were concerned itcould act as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda, which is determined to manufacturea battle between the values of Islam and the West.

The strategy emerging across Government is to portray terrorists as nothingmore than cold-blooded murderers who are not fighting for any religious cause.Al Qaedainspired terrorism is instead being described by key figures as 'morelike a death cult'.

Last night the Home Office stressed that no phrases have been 'banned'. Butsenior Whitehall sources have made it clear that the 'war on terror' and'Islamic extremism' will not be used again by people at the top of Governmentor those involved in counterterrorism strategy.

Sir Ken Macdonald, the Director of Public Prosecutions, has also said phraseswhich liken London to a 'battlefield' will no longer be used.

But the move led to accusations of 'hand-wringing'. Conservative MP PhilipDavies said no Muslim constituent had ever complained to him about the use ofthe term 'Islamic extremism'.

The Shipley MP added: 'Whenever anyone refers to Islamic terrorism, they arenot saying all Muslims are terrorists.

Everybody knows what people mean is terrorists doing it in the name of Islam,misguidedly. If the Government spent less time worrying about this, and moretime worrying about things such as having effective border controls, we wouldbe getting somewhere.' In her speech, Miss Smith said extremists who use theinternet to radicalise young children would be pursued in the same way aspaedophiles. …

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