Tuesday 20 June 2017

Defining terrorism

Some of the visitors to this blog will think I shouldn’t worry my pretty little head about non-BBC matters, but in the name of human rights I beg permission to deviate, alongside my usual hesitation and repetition.

There have been a few dodgy pieces in The Times of late, but recent events have created a mishmash of confused thinking - almost epitomised by Piers Morgan as per my previous post. Such a shame ITV took the video down.

Piers was trying to argue that Islam is a faith, therefore ‘good’, but Islamism, extremism, violence and terrorism are obviously ‘bad’ and entirely different.
A bully like Piers Morgan will typically clutch at any straw to maintain the popularity, if not the adulation, that sustains him.

On that occasion Piers Morgan was torn between associating himself with the views of a figure (Tommy Robinson) whom the mob has deemed to be ‘from the extreme right’ on the one hand, and on the other he was probably afraid of coming across as yet another of those ‘useful idiots’ on the left who pipe up all over the place as apologists for Islam.

The mainstream media have brought the debate down to a matter of semantics. They spend hours dancing on the head of a pin over what is and isn’t “terrorism” and explaining that criticising Islam amounts to calling all Muslims terrorists.

Tactically, they leave themselves with little choice other than to construct a giant haystack from a pile of straw men.

Tommy Robinson has learned a lot since he started his crusade. Are we allowed to call it that?
If we mean it in the sense of: ‘a vigorous campaign for political, social, or religious change’, then it should be okay.

He has developed. Nowadays he is more articulate and his arguments are more mature and substantive than they were before.  They have to be because he has a multi-pronged enemy to defeat.

One is the huge number of people who are completely flummoxed by the crime of criticising any belief system that is labelled ‘religion’.  Religion has to be respected. To tag a bit of religious piety onto a Marxist, a Nazi, a bigot and a racist is to make their toxic political opinions untouchable.

Tommy Robinson now knows the political implications of Islam far better than the bulk of his critics in the media who think of themselves as his superior. Most of them haven’t studied it in any meaningful way but they just know, Islam must be righteous, because ‘faith’. Terrorism is a distorted version. It must be, because ‘religion’.

He also has The State to fight. The state is trying to contain something that looks increasingly uncontainable. When it goes off, it will surely go off with a bang.
Putting Tommy Robinson behind bars, let alone leaving him there at the mercy of bloodthirsty Muslim criminals, is no way for any state to behave, least of all the state that’s supposed to represent the most tolerant country in the world. Silencing Tommy Robinson is not going to contain the problem. Wildfires have a habit of flaring up in unexpected places..

 First, I want to commend this article by Melanie Phillips in The Times (£). Never mind terrorism or Brexit for a minute. Melanie has articulated a very urgent threat to the social cohesion that the State is so cack-handedly trying to maintain.

Left-wing agitators are planning a “day of rage” tomorrow in protest at the government’s austerity policies, which they say caused the tragedy. The protest is being led by the Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary, whose Facebook page declares: “We must escalate our actions to take down this rotten government, which has lost all authority to govern.”

(I read this when it appeared in the Spectator a few days ago.)
“What’s happening is an attempt to stir insurrection on the streets against the democratically elected Westminster government. Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell has called for a million people to take to the streets on Saturday to force Theresa May from power. 
At a Liverpool conference on March 10, 2012, McDonnell said there were three ways to change society. The first was through the ballot box; the second via industrial action. “The third is basically insurrection, but we now call it direct action . . . we have an elected dictatorship, so I think we have a democratic right to use whatever means to bring this government down. The real fight now is in our communities, it’s on the picket lines, it’s in the streets.”

Give John McDonnell a long nightie and a little crotchet cap and he’d have a free pass to do as he sees fit. Not that he doesn’t have one already. (The free pass rather than the outfit)
Many naive Labour voters believe Jeremy Corbyn is a “nice man”. The reality is frighteningly different. A fearsome tragedy is being cynically politicised. Even before all the dead of Grenfell tower have been retrieved and buried, Labour is unleashing mob rule in their name. Compassion is being hijacked and weaponised in what is nothing short of a planned uprising against democracy itself.

Now, let’s look at Hugo Rifkind whose article happens to appear on the opposite page. He’s doing his Piers Morgan thing for Times readers who don’t watch ITV.

“Not all preachers of hate wear a skullcap and robes. Some wear jeans.” 

That sounds about right. However, I can’t be sure, but I think Hugo is saying that the right is just as capable of radicalising its followers as the skullcap and robes brigade. Then I think he’s saying that to flatter the weirdos with the term ‘terrorist’ is to absolve them from personal responsibility.

Surely, as soon as one commits an act of terrorism one automatically becomes a weirdo. Therefore all terrorists are weirdos, but not all weirdos are terrorists.

Was the Finsbury Park Mosque incident an act of terrorism?
“the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.” is one definition of the term.

The Welsh weirdo who ran down Muslim worshippers had a kind of political aim; allegedly, to “kill all Muslims”.  Was that a political act? If it was designed to put fear into all Muslims as well as bumping a few off, it certainly was. Also, the victims were most likely civilians, so on the whole this incident probably did qualify as terrorism.
But what if it was a revenge thing, or a copy-cat thing or an act of pure weirdoism? The political connection would be tenuous then, would it not?  And anyway, would the term used to define it really matter?
“If you do not like the notion that even mainstream Muslim narratives have a nebulous culpability for Islamist attacks — and I do not — then it seems contradictory to decide that western media narratives are culpable for attacks by people who consider themselves on the other side.”
Says Hugo.

Yup. The MCB won’t accept that Islam bears responsibility for terrorism unless we Islamophobes also accept that Douglas Murray is responsible for the Finsbury Park Mosque van-ramming.

If the MCB thinks it can deflect the notion that Islam bears responsibility for terrorism by arguing that Douglas Murray must accept responsibility for Finsbury Park, that is wrong. There are many flaws in this imaginary comparison. Apart from the huge difference in scale and ‘pattern’, and the differing elements of direct incitement to violence -  (some in the case of hate preachers and none from Douglas Murray) the most fundamental difference is that Islam is the catalyst and “the other side” is the response. The equivalence theory is not going to work.  There is no equivalence and no contradictory principle there.

My take on it is this. It doesn’t actually matter to me whether a murder qualifies as terrorism or just weirdoism, and equally I don’t care whether or not mainstream Muslim narratives have a nebulous or direct culpability for violent acts. The nature of the beast makes the question almost irrelevant.

I see the mainstream Muslim narrative itself as divisive, antisemitic, and wrong-headed. The fact that it’s a religion shouldn’t make it untouchable. Whether it leads to violence or just simmers away in the background fomenting division, it’s not good for Britain.  I don’t like violence or racism from anyone and I don’t want to hear excuses for any of it. Fearing Islam is not a matter of racism.
Journalists can dance on heads of pins as much as they like, but in my opinion they’re wasting everyone’s time.

Now back to the BBC. On the Daily Politics Tom Wilson from the Henry Jackson Society was invited to into the studio to defend Douglas Murray’s eminently sensible suggestion that “we need less Islam” , a remark he made during a discussion about the Prevent strategy. 

Yesterday’s guest on the programme, Miqdaad Versi, wanted the BBC to no-platform Douglas Murray for making that particular remark, which Jo Coburn called ‘inflammatory.’

She turned to her other guest, Lord (Digby) Jones to ask what he thought about it. “Well, we must be clear about the distinction between ordinary Islam and extremism” he opined.
So there you have it. There’s benign Islam, and there’s fundamental Islam. One is good, because ‘faith’. The other is not so good because ‘terror’.

It is a BBC-related matter after all, and I am worried about it and so should you be.


  1. "The fact that it’s a religion shouldn’t make it untouchable" - agree absolutely. And in the West we have over the years allowed a lot of criticism (and indeed ridicule) of all religions.

    But now one is brought into our midst on the back of oil wealth that will brook no criticism, let alone ridicule. And it turns out our Governments and media are quickly cowed into ... well ... submission.

    On the weirdo vs. terrorist dilemma. I'm no expert at all, but for me a weirdo (or to use the more exact term "nutter"), acts alone. A terrorist is part of a group or conspiracy that may have some political wing too. For me the killer of Cox and the van driver the other night fall into my "nutter" class. The London Bridge knifemen and Manchester bombers were terrorists.

  2. There is a simple question to be asked of our 'leaders', "What are you trying to achieve? (What is the goal?)"

    They have imported an American Pit Bull Terrier and let it breed. Some of these dogs have attacked other dogs. They tell us that not all APBTs bite, (which is true). Their 'answer' appears to be to import and breed more APBTs. Eventually everyone will have an APBT so there won't be any Yorkshire terriers being attacked so that will be 'alright'.
    Sadly the same approach is being adopted with gusto across the entire West. Eventually there will be no homes for any Yorkshire terriers in the world, which is exactly what the 'APBTs breed society handbook' has called for for the last 1400 years.

    1. Well if you class Corbyn and McDonnell as leaders, then we all know exactly what they want. They are pretty clear Marxists leninists.

      It's indeed very unclear what the other leaders are trying to achieve.

  3. Good article, thanks. Maybe the MCB should be confronted with a few questions......

    Does Douglas Murray use a book of socio-political rules in a religious binding to back up his very well researched arguments ?

    Have there been any Channel 4 documentaries made about how Douglas Murray tried to undermine the political system in London by installing shills into the labour party, and furthering a political agenda using religion as a base for nepotism ?
    (Britain's Islamic Republic (2010))

    Has Douglas Murray, using his belief system and adherents thereof, published an 'online magazine' downloaded by 55,000 people in the UK which calls for the destruction of the secularist west ?

    Is Murray trying to start a state that is entirely based on the teachings of the literature of one religion?

    Has Douglas Murray ever issued a death threat, even a slightly camp one ?

    In his broad lexicon, does Murray have equivalent words for 'taqiya,jizya or kuffar', words that would sum up their Arabic and Koranic semantics quite as well ?

    In relation to the Finsbury Park attack, Murray, after condemning it, writes in The Spectator :

    • Nobody will claim that we must rethink our foreign policy to better
    align itself with the views of the attacker.
    • Nobody will claim that we must carry out an analysis of all other
    views held by the terrorist, the better to understand ‘where he is
    coming from’ and then act on them.
    • There will be no talk of ‘legitimate grievances’.
    • Nobody will blame the ‘Prevent’ programme for the attack or claim
    that the already existing far-right element of the Prevent programme
    must be completely scrapped or wholly re-thought. More likely is that
    there will be calls for this element to receive even more resourcing
    than it currently does.

  4. I share your concerns. Both about the complete refusal of the BBC to recognise the nature of Islam and the really terrifying prospect of Marxists like McDonell believing that it is entirely legitimate to bring down a democratically elected government by what to all intents and purposes is force. I imagine he thinks he is storming the Winter Palace. I might add to that the BBC’s refusal to recognise the devastating consequences of mass immigration on almost all aspects of life from the housing crisis to public services.

    I've never really understood what is meant by the phrase “respecting other peoples religion”. Perhaps someone can explain it to me, because it doesn’t really make any sense. It seems to mean different things to different people. Certainly I respect absolutely the right of anybody to practice their religion in peace, with the proviso that it doesn’t impinge upon the basic hard-fought rights of other people: freedom of speech, for example. But why would I as a person of no ”faith” respect a practice which to me is absurd? It’s quite extraordinary the way this term “faith” has become so prominent - these “people of faith” who we are expected to treat with such reverence. Even the good old C of E, emboldened by the arrival of vast numbers of Muslims brandishing their “faith”, has jumped onto the bandwagon and started using it at all times. In fact anyone expressing the mildest of atheistic views is now branded by senior members of the clergy as militant atheists - as if we were all trying to start a resurrection. Very prickly, these people of faith. I have digressed.

    I don’t know if the driver of the van was a terrorist. He was certainly a murderous idiot who should be locked away for a very long time.

  5. "I might add to that the BBC’s refusal to recognise the devastating consequences of mass immigration on almost all aspects of life from the housing crisis to public services."

    I watched a few months ago a Newsnight "special" on the housing crisis. 45 minutes devoted to the issue and literally not once was population increse or mass immigration mentioned. It was quite heroic how they managed to avoid addressing the most obvious aspect of the problem! If you think we've got a housing crisis now wait till the new baby boomers reach adulthood in 20 years' time.

    And Phil Hammond and Mark Carney and their mates are determined that the mass immigration should continue ad infinitum.

  6. The 'special stuff' section of the BBC Editorial Guidlines must surely be larger than the publicly acknowledged one by now?

  7. Tommy Robinson was imprisoned for fraud, not his political beliefs. Why do you have to continually portray him as Nelson Mandela? I thought you were meant to be in favour of law and order.

    1. Do you sincerely think the actual ‘fraud’ for which T.R. was convicted would have attracted a custodial sentence were it not for his political beliefs?
      (I understand his crime was something like signing a reference for his cousin at the time of self-certified mortgage applications)
      Nelson Mandela is a strange choice to represent saintliness.

      I am in favour of law and order if only it could be achieved.

    2. P.S. link didn't work above;

    3. Why have you put fraud in inverted commas, as if it is not fraud, when it was proven to be fraud and he was convicted by a jury of his peers to have committed fraud?

      Do you think he didn't commit fraud?

    4. Why did I put ‘fraud’ in inverted commas? 1.) To emphasise the word. 2.) To imply the following:

      If everyone who took an optimistic view of their income on a self-certified mortgage application went to prison there’d be no room inside for murderers and thieves. Ask yourself why self-certified mortgage application no longer exists.

      Technically the offence might well have qualified as fraud, but they claim it not reflect the applicant's ability to pay and the applicant did not default on his repayments.

      I haven’t seen a transcript of the trial, but T.R. deserves the benefit of the doubt on these details in view of the obstructive conditions subsequently imposed on him by the courts, obviously pretexts to silence him

  8. Yes, not sure I can go with ITBB's sudden desire to canonise Tommy Robinson, not least because any leftist figure's less-than-angelic past would doubtless be flagged as an issue of concern on here - although I can't disagree that the attempt to stitch him up on GMTV was risible. He had valid points to make if only he'd been allowed. It's crappy TV stunts like that which have people frothing at the mouth about the alleged suppression of free speech, leftist control of the media etc.

    I'm not sure I share the praise either for Melanie Phillips hysterical article which is nothing more than the usual cliched put-downs of left-wingers, together with the asinine invocation of "insurrections" at the door. There's a lot I agree with on this site but it isn't half biased itself.

    1. AnonAnon.
      Not sudden. My so-called canonisation began on our sister site, pre ITBB. In fact ever since Paxo’s failed assassination attempt on Tommy R. in 2011, and possibly even before that. It’s still there on the B-BBC archive if you’re interested.
      There are 25 tagged posts on our sidebar too.

      Not that it is a canonisation, which is something you probably realise. I do think he’s been treated appallingly by the more loutish members of the BBC’s interview-ocracy, especially in comparison to the fawning obsequiousness with which they treat some of our simple-minded members of and apologists for the religion of peace.

      Do you think this site is more biased that the BBC deserves - in the sense of counter-bias? Craig and I think of ourselves as rather restrained on that count.

  9. The second and third sentences of your first paragraph surely go someway to explaining the 'canonisation' you perceive and mention in the first sentence.
    My own view is not that Robinson is a hero, but a canary in a very gassy coalmine. His past gives him unique perspectives on what is happening in the English prison system, and how the state can operate to shut political nuisances down.

  10. Only recently Tommy was arrested in the early hours for alleged contempt of court when he tried to interview defendants in a trial, outside court. This was a political arrest, nothing less, and it is shocking that it is happening in this country.


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