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Terror exclusively Muslim? In the media, yes.

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Warning: This post was published more than 10 years ago.

I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!

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An interesting piece of comment from The First Post, today. They point out that two men appeared at Burnley Magistrates’ Court last week, charged with holding “the largest amount of cheimical explosives of this type ever found in this country”. One of the accused was a BNP council candidate, and the other was a local dentist. The dentist was also in possession of a rocket launcher and a nuclear biological protection suit, and the two were accused of “some kind of masterplan”, as yet unknown.

But what is striking about their court appearance (they were remanded until October 23) is the failure of any mainstream newspaper or media outlet to report it at all.

It is not difficult to imagine what the response might have been had two Muslims been involved. There would have been banner headlines, police statements celebrating the prevention of another apocalyptic plot, suggestions of a wider conspiracy with nebulous ‘linkages’ to al-Qaeda. There would have been a collective shudder at another averted outrage, experts holding forth on the dangers of dirty bombs and homemade WMD. There would have been warnings of the ongoing threat to our ‘values’. Above all, there would have been fear, all of it magnified by a credulous media, fed by inside information from nameless intelligence sources.

Instead there was total silence. In a week dominated by Muslim ‘stories’ in which veiled women and an unpleasant taxi driver constituted evidence of the alien, dangerous subculture in our midst, two white men accused of having explosives, a nuclear protection suit and a ‘masterplan’ fell outside the frame of the ‘war on terror’ and therefore did not get mentioned beyond local papers.

It’s quite a difficult argument to counter, given that the only mainstream national media I could find the story in was the Sunday Times – in the ‘News in Brief’ column.

It is quitely burning away in the blogosphere – generally with the same kind of spin The First Post (and, to be fair, I) has given it. We’re talking posts like When it’s a white terrorist, no one notices…, White people are terrorists too!!!!!!, The Wrong Colour Bomb – and this post from The Void, who seems even more cynical than me.

The original article that sparked all this speculation – from the esteemed Burnley Citizen – contains this intriguing line, which may help to explain away some of the lack of media interest:

However Superintendent Neil Smith moved to reassure residents and stressed: “It is not a bomb making factory” and added that it was not related to terrorism.

How does he know? And what exactly was Robert Cottage doing with a huge amount of explosives, a rocket launcher, and a protective suit? And, ultimately, would the same line have been trundled out if Mr Cottage’s skin had been a different colour?

This 981st post was filed under: Media, News and Comment.






More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd September 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 5th August 2017)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 10th July 2017)

This is a brilliant compilation of Ice Bucket Challenge fails… (published 3rd September 2014)

Being a teenage mum (published 17th September 2005)

Kids’ Mental Health Services and the Recession (published 6th January 2010)

The blog’s going to need a new strapline… (published 11th June 2008)


Comments and responses

Comment from Anonymous


by Anonymous

Comment posted at 23:08 on 14th February 2008.

Yes, there are many non-muslim terrorists. The US had Timothy Mcveigh (Oklahoma City), the Unabomber, Eric Rudolph (Atlanta Olympisc) and still has many envirterrorists. What stands out is they were not part of a global terrorist movement.


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