Saturday 20 June 2015

Some extremists worth understanding, some extremists not worth understanding

Just sticking with Newsnight's Secunder Kermani for a moment...

Some of his previous Newsnight reports - especially his interviews with Islamic terrorists - have been highly controversial.

(We've posted about them here and here, and even Dame Pauline Neville-Jones has complained about them).

The accusation made against his kind of report - non-judgemental interviews with Islamic State and other terrorists - is that they give our mortal enemies the oxygen of publicity.

Others think they do a valuable service in allowing us to listen in to our enemies' thoughts (though those thoughts usually tend to sound like propaganda to me).

They make me uneasy, queasy even.

Secunder's speciality is in engaging English-speaking jihadists on social media sites like Twitter. He questions them. They answer. He broadcasts his questions and their answers. Job done.

Understandably, his Twitter feed is quite active (though most of his discussions with Islamic extremists go on behind the scenes of course).

He can - at times - display a combative tone against some extremists on Twitter - unusually for a BBC reporter.

Oddly, those extremists aren't of the Islamist variety though. Quite the reverse. It's PEGIDA - the movement against Islamisation that began in Germany and has now spread to the UK - that he's keen to get down and dirty with on Twitter.

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