Police consider dropping terms 'Islamist terror' or 'jihadi'
Police consider dropping terms ‘Islamist terror’ or ‘jihadi’ because they ‘don’t help community relations’
- ‘Alternatives suggested include ‘faith-claimed terrorism’, ‘terrorists abusing religious motivations’ and ‘adherents of Osama bin Laden’s ideology’
- National Association of Muslim Police put forward its case at online conference
- Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counter-terrorism policing, took the views of officers on both sides of the debate and decision has not been made
Police are considering dropping the terms ‘Islamist terror’ and ‘jihadi’ because they ‘don’t help community relations.’
Alternatives suggested include ‘faith-claimed terrorism’, ‘terrorists abusing religious motivations’ and ‘adherents of Osama bin Laden’s ideology,’ The Times reported.
A Muslim police organisation claimed today’s official terminology fuelled negative perceptions, stereotypes, discrimination and Islamophobia.
The issue was put forward at an online conference which was addressed by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of counter-terrorism policing.
Attacks such as the London bombings of 2005 and the Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester Arena assaults, all in 2017, have been officially classed as ‘Islamist terrorism’ (pictured: the remains of a bus are seen on Tavistock Square following a series of explosions which ripped through London’s tube and bus network on July 7, 2005)
The police told The Times that changes to the phraseology were not certain.
Attacks such as the London bombings of 2005 as well as the Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester Arena assaults, all in 2017, have been officially deemed ‘Islamist terrorism.’
The issue was put forward at an online conference which was addressed by Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the head of counter-terrorism policing
But the 3,000-strong National Association of Muslim Police advocated ‘a change in culture by moving away from using terms which have a direct link to Islam and jihad. These … do not help community relations and public confidence.’
It instead suggested an Arabic word, ‘Irhabi,’ could be deployed.
It is used throughout the Middle East to describe those with extremist views.
The group said that the word ‘jihad’ was complicated by its figurative meaning of the ‘struggle’ of being faithful, as well as being used to to denote self-defence in the context of a physical struggle.
But David Toube, of Quilliam, a counter-extremism think tank, told The Times: ‘People do not like to feel that they are being told only the partial truth … there is a serious problem with Islamist terrorism.
‘The use of any term that obscures that fact risks damaging public trust in the police.’
Chief Superintendent Nik Adams, coordinator of the de-radicalisation unit, Prevent, said that the meeting had been convened to look at all the evidence.
He said that Mr Basu had invited a broad range of opinions from both sides of the debate because he believed the discussion was important.
But Mr Adams told The Times: ‘We have no plans to change the terminology we use at present but welcomed the debate and contributions.
‘It’s vital we get our terminology right to define the threat accurately and succinctly but also to avoid alienating communities crucial to our efforts.’
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