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Terror exclusively Muslim? In the media, yes.

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 12 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and wrote about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 12 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

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.

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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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