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.”


UN General Assembly: Trump says Abraham Accords brought optimism to Middle East

Updated 29 min 17 sec ago

UN General Assembly: Trump says Abraham Accords brought optimism to Middle East

  • US President flaunts regional foreign policy achievements to world leaders
  • Blames China for coronavirus pandemic as general debate gets underway

 

 

UNITED NATIONS: Donald Trump told world leaders Tuesday he “has never been more optimistic” about the future of the Middle East.

In his address to the UN General Assembly, the US president trumpeted his foreign policy achievements, particularly in the the regions.

He said the Abraham Accords signed between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain last week were groundbreaking and came thanks to a new approach by his administration.

“We reached a landmark breakthrough with two peace deals in the Middle East, after decades of no progress,” Trump said in his address delivered by video. 

“Israel, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain all signed a historic peace agreement in the White House, with many other Middle Eastern countries to come. They are coming fast, and they know it’s great for them and it’s great for the world.”

Trump, who faces an election on Nov. 3, said during his presidency the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions on “the world’s leading state sponsor of terror.”

He said the US had “obliterated” Daesh and killed its leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. He said under his watch the American forces had also taken out Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who he described as “the world’s top terrorist.”

Trump also took aim at China, blaming the superpower for unleashing the coronavirus pandemic on the world.

Speaking a shortly after Trump, China’s President Xi Jinping warned the world not to “politicize” the fight against coronavirus.

His speech came during the UN’s first virtual meeting of world leaders.

Among the speaking on Tuesday were Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Putin, and French president Emmanuel Macron.

Erdogan used his speech to signal Turkey's position on the eastern Mediterranean, where his country had been accused of provacoatively caarying out energy exploration in disputed waters.

From the Middle East, Iranian president Hassan Rouhani will take the virtual floor as his country comes under huge pressure from the US over the crumbling nuclear deal.

Jordan's King Abdullah II and the Emir of Qatar will also deliver their addresses.

After Monday's introductory session marking the UN's 75th anniversary, the “general debate” is the meeting's central event — speeches from each of its 193 member nations.

They traditionally serve as a platform for countries to tout accomplishments, seek support, stoke rivalries and express views on global priorities.

*With AP