Tuesday 16 June 2015

"Are westerners who go to fight for Islamic State victims or criminals?"

Are westerners who go to fight for Islamic State victims or criminals? @BBCDomC discusses", says the BBC.
BBCDom discusses?

Well, when you've got over the fact that the BBC thinks this is a worthwhile question to ask (unlike lots of people in the UK who don't) and actually proceed to read Dominic Casciani's blogpost, IS recruits: Victims or criminals?, you'll find that there's actually very little 'discussion' in the piece at all. 

The article essentially pursues a single line of argument - i.e. that the present tactics being employed by the authorities are not helping the situation and that treating those who go to fight for Islamic State simply as criminals is a mistake.

Both of his 'expert voices' - Leeds-based imam Qari Asim and Daniel Koehler of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-radicalization Studies - seem to share the belief that these people can be considered as both "criminals" and "victims". ("They are victims to the extent that they have been brainwashed and manipulated", says Qari Asim, and Dominic Casciani twice ascribes the word "grooming" to Daniel Koehler to describe what happened to the likes of Tahla Asmal).

They both argue that we should go beyond criminalising these people and offer them a way out.

Where, however, in this so-called 'discussion' is the point-of-view which says that westerners who go to fight for Islamic state are nothing more than criminals and terrorists and should never be thought of as "victims"? Where's the side of the argument that wants the authorities' responses "hardened" even further?

Nowhere to be found.

Moreover, Dominic Casciani's article ends by 'discussing' the "controversial" new legal duty that public bodies, including schools and universities, will soon find themselves obliged to carry out - i.e. looking out for "the warning signs". Does Dominic 'discuss' this new legal duty? No, he simply hand over to the imam from Leeds and then brings his piece to a close:
Qari Asim warns the government needs to leave "safe spaces" where vulnerable young people can talk frankly 
"We need to hear them out so that we know what they are thinking and show them the different side of the coin," he says. 
"If you don't do that, you are leaving them at the mercy of those perpetrators."
An impartial piece of BBC reporting or merely just another opinion piece projecting a familiar BBC angle? 


  1. That's just another way of saying we must understand their grievances, i.e. they are right and we are wrong.

  2. Why do they never ask these Imams which specific policies being pursued by Islamic State are clearly contrary to Sharia?

  3. "you'll find that there's actually very little 'discussion' in the piece at all"

    Rather classic BBC and their quaint 'questions' based only on what they want to answer as advocacy, the whole thing is a set-up for singular opinion dressed up as reporting.

    It would be fascinating to one day discover how many 'people/critics are saying', 'the whole world is' vague claims used by BBC propagandists to offer a gloss of unsubstantiated 3rd party distraction to their pet projects.

    Hardly necessary given the queue of tame twerps but a call away to kick it off, but that does then run the risk of being called out. Which is when FOI exemptions 'for the purposes of' kick in.

    Neatly sewn up, isn't it?


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