UK police consider dropping ‘Islamist’, ‘jihadi’ terms when describing terror attacks

The head of counter-terrorism policing in the UK, Neil Basu, discussed the use of language to describe acts of terror during an online forum in June. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Updated 20 July 2020

UK police consider dropping ‘Islamist’, ‘jihadi’ terms when describing terror attacks

  • If implemented, officers would stop using phrases such as “jihadi” when describing attacks by those claiming Islam as a motive for terror

LONDON: Police in the UK are considering replacing terms such as “Islamist terrorism” to describe acts of terror with phrases such as “adherents of Osama bin Laden’s ideology,” The Times reported on Monday.

If implemented, officers would stop using phrases such as “jihadi” when describing attacks by those claiming Islam as a motive for terror because their usage was not helpful for community relations.

The head of counter-terrorism policing in the UK, Neil Basu, discussed the use of language to describe acts of terror during an online forum in June with attack survivors, relatives of victims and experts.

During the event it was pointed out that right-wing extremists such as Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in an attack in Norway in 2011, had often cited protecting Christianity as part of the motive for their actions, but were not described as “Christianist” or “crusaderist” by the police or the media.

A change in the use of language was requested by the National Association of Muslim Police, which said the use of words such as “Islamist” fostered negative connotations of the UK’s Muslim community and could lead to a rise in discrimination and Islamophobia.

Representatives from the organization, which numbers 3,000 members, argued that “jihad” should not be used because it means “struggle” or “effort” in Arabic and can refer to being a devout Muslim and carrying out good deeds.

Other alternatives to currently used phrases included “terrorists abusing religious motivations” or the Arabic word “irhabi,” which is not connected to religion but often used in the Middle East to describe terrorism.

The national coordinator of the UK’s de-radicalization program Prevent, Nik Adams, said counter terrorism officers had said, after receiving advice from Muslim officers, they were “concerned” that terminology currently in use could lead to “stigmatizing of innocent Muslims in the UK.”

However, Adams told The Times that any change in language used was not certain to be implemented, adding: “We have no plans to change the terminology we use at present but welcomed the debate and contributions.”


Pakistan Hindus rally in Islamabad over India migrant deaths

Updated 25 September 2020

Pakistan Hindus rally in Islamabad over India migrant deaths

  • The dead migrants’ relatives have held small rallies in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province but this was the first time they had taken their demonstration to the country’s capital
  • The protesters accuse India’s secret service of poisoning the 11 Hindus

ISLAMABAD : Pakistan’s minority Hindus rallied late on Thursday in Islamabad, briefly clashing with the police, to protest the deaths of 11 members of a Hindu migrant family who died in India last month under mysterious circumstances.
Since then, the dead migrants’ relatives have held small rallies in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province but this was the first time they had taken their demonstration to the country’s capital, vowing to stage a sit-in near the Indian Embassy.
The protesters accuse India’s secret service of poisoning the 11 Hindus, who were found dead at a farmhouse in India’s Jodhpur district in Rajasthan state. The demonstrators arrived in Islamabad around midnight, chanting, “We want justice.” They briefly skirmished with officers who prevented them from reaching the embassy site.
After the Aug. 9 deaths, Indian media reports suggested the Hindu family members, originally from Pakistan, had taken their own lives. Official Islamabad says New Delhi had not shared any reports of the case.
Thursday’s rally was an unusual move for Pakistan’s Hindus, who have mostly lived without conflict with the country’s predominantly Muslim majority. Earlier this year under pressure from radical Muslims, Pakistani authorities halted construction of a Hindu temple in Islamabad.
Ramesh Kumar, a top leader of the Hindu community who led Thursday’s protest, met on Wednesday with Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, seeking his help in pressuring India to release results of the initial police probe into the case.
Pakistan has also asked for access to a Hindu worker who was at the Jodhpur farm at the time of the deaths, according to government officials.
In his meeting with Qureshi, Kumar said Shrimati Mukhi, the daughter of the head of the family that died, had levelled the poisoning accusations. She earlier this month told local media that India allegedly pressured the family to issue a statement denouncing Pakistan’s government. There was no official comment from India on the allegations.
Last week, Pakistan summoned an Indian diplomat to convey concerns over the “Jodhpur incident.” A subsequent ministry statement said India had “failed to share any substantive details regarding the cause and circumstances of the deaths” of the Hindus and asked for a comprehensive investigation.
Nuclear armed rivals Pakistan and India have a history of bitter relations. Pakistan’s military said Wednesday that two of its soldiers were killed by Indian fire in a cease-fire violation in the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir. The region is split between the two countries but claimed by both in its entirety. India and Pakistan have fought two out of their three wars over Kashmir since gaining independence in 1947.

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