Authorities must act against mainstream media terror incitement

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Comments made in the wake of the New Zealand terrorist attack by Britain’s counter-terrorism chief, Neil Basu, that the mainstream media is responsible for radicalising far right extremists are too little too late.

Basu criticised outlets such as Mail Online which uploaded the ‘manifesto’ of the gunman in the terrorist attack in Christchurch and the Sun and Mirror which rushed to upload clips of footage filmed by the gunman as he attacked two mosques in Christchurch.

“The reality is that every terrorist we have dealt with has sought inspiration from the propaganda of others, and when they can’t find it on Facebook, YouTube, Telegram or Twitter they only have to turn on the TV, read the paper or go to one of a myriad of mainstream media websites struggling to compete with those platforms,” he wrote in an open letter to the media.

While Basu’s criticism is accurate, it is selective and should have been made many years ago when organisations such as IHRC were warning that hate speech in the mainstream and online media was creating a toxic environment that in turn was inciting people to anti-Muslim hatred, including acts of physical violence as we have witnessed in Christchurch. For decades, western mainstream media and politicians have both consciously and unconsciously painted Muslims as uniquely prone to “extremism” and “terrorism”. Hardly a day passes without a headline, column inches or talk show pointing to a problem or dispute created by the failure of Muslims to conform to so-called western liberal values.

The result is that Muslims have become ingrained in the popular psyche as the “other”, a “problem” and the enemy within. This in turn has legitimised and normalised attacking Muslims in the name of anti-Islamic extremism whilst simultaneously reinforcing the thought process which automatically deems Muslims to be guilty of things they did not do. Media misrepresentation has created and normalised a widespread casual racism/Islamophobia that further nourishes the false narrative and inspires violent attacks against Muslims.

Basu cited the 2017 attack by Darren Osborne who drove a truck into a crowd of Muslim worshippers leaving a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, but what he failed to mention was the relentless barrage of hate speech directed against the Al-Quds Day demonstration on June 18 that preceded that attack in the national and Jewish media. Osborne’s original target was the Al-Quds Day demonstration in London, but he was forced to change his plan after being unable to gain access to the route.

The man who is charged with committing the New Zealand mosques attacks cited Osborne in his so-called manifesto: “I support many of those that take a stand against ethnic and cultural genocide. Luca Traini, Anders Breivik, Dylan Roof, Anton Lundin Pettersson, Darren Osbourne etc.”

Here are a selection of articles demonising the march and those taking part, and conflating peaceful demonstration with support for terrorism:

http://lbc.audioagain.com/presenters/40-maajid-nawaz/402-the-whole-show  – Maajid Nawaz repeatedly referring to innocent women and children who attend Al Quds Day as terrorist sympathisers.

Hundreds expected to protest against pro-Palestinian Al Quds Day march refers to Al Quds attendees supporting terrorism.

Jeremy Corbyn not expected to attend this year’s Al Quds Day march repeats the claim that Al Quds attendees support terrorism.

Pro-Israel groups to hold rally to protest against Al-Quds Day march

The JC Leader: Hatred in public…Journey to come

Opinion: As a survivor of terror, allowing the Al Quds Day March offends me

Sadiq Kahn accused of ‘betraying Londoners’ by Al Quds Day organisers

Opinion – Maajid Nawaz: Flying terrorist flags in the capital is an insult to victims of London attacks

According to reports, Osborne was thrown out of the Hollybush pub in Pentwyn, near his home, for spewing Islamophobic rhetoric and mentioning the Al-Quds Day March, that the attendees were supporting terrorism and that “someone needs to do something about it”

Article: Finsbury Park attack: Suspect may have wanted to target pro-Palestinian rally in London

Finsbury Park terror suspect Darren Osborne read messages from Tommy Robinson days before attack, court hears

Given the fact that Osborne had never attended the Al-Quds March before, we can only conclude he got his understanding of what the event was by reading articles equating the event to support for terrorism, like those above.

On a previous occasion, when we complained to The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards about MP Matthew Offord falsely accusing the Al-Quds Day rally of showing support for ISIS, and essentially equating law abiding Muslims with terrorism, it wrote back that they did not believe it was something they could investigate.

PRESS RELEASE – UK: IHRC Asks Parliamentary Watchdog To Investigate Hate-Preaching Tory MP

When we complained repeatedly to the Press Complaints Commission about the deliberate misrepresentation of lawful activities by Muslims as manifestations of extremism and support for terrorism, it did nothing. When we complained about the Jewish Chronicle whipping up hate by calling those organising and taking part in the Al-Quds Day rally terrorists it also did nothing.

And when we named and shamed cheerleaders of hate on the BBC, they issued an apology to the individuals we identified, and have ignored our formal complaints.

PRESS RELEASE – UK: BBC urged to retract apologies to anti-Muslim hate-preachers

Evidence has been growing for many years about the environment of hate that incites violence against Muslims in Britain. Our survey in 2015 of hate crimes affecting the Muslim community in the UK showed a staggering 66% of respondents saying they had experienced verbal abuse, up from 39.8% in 2010, while the experience of physical assault had increased from 13.9% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2014 with the intensity of attacks becoming extraordinarily violent. The same survey reported that 87.7% of respondents felt that “those who discriminate against us are highly driven by media content.”

It is not enough for officials and politicians responsible for the security of British citizens to talk about rejecting the terrorists and extremists who seek to divide us. Such words amount to empty rhetoric unless they are translated into real and concrete policies to protect vulnerable communities from extremist violence. The responsibility for terrorist attacks against Muslims lies not only with those who pull the trigger but also those in the media who play the mood music that incites them.

For further reading on Al-Quds Day 2017 please see the following links:

A marriage of convenience

PRESS RELEASE – UK: How Darren Osborne came to be radicalised

IHRC condemns attempts by Zionist groups to smear Al Quds Day

Letter to Mayor of London regarding Al Quds Day apology

ALERT: Racist attacks on Al Quds Day 2017

Letter to Mayor of London regarding his Al Quds Day stance

Letter to Metropolitan Police Commissioner regarding Al Quds Day 2017

British nationalists face-off with pro-Palestine Al Quds marchers

Comments made in the wake of the New Zealand terrorist attack by Britain’s counter-terrorism chief, Neil Basu, that the mainstream media is responsible for radicalising far right extremists are too little too late.

Basu criticised outlets such as Mail Online which uploaded the ‘manifesto’ of the gunman in the terrorist attack in Christchurch and the Sun and Mirror which rushed to upload clips of footage filmed by the gunman as he attacked two mosques in Christchurch.

“The reality is that every terrorist we have dealt with has sought inspiration from the propaganda of others, and when they can’t find it on Facebook, YouTube, Telegram or Twitter they only have to turn on the TV, read the paper or go to one of a myriad of mainstream media websites struggling to compete with those platforms,” he wrote in an open letter to the media.

While Basu’s criticism is accurate, it is selective and should have been made many years ago when organisations such as IHRC were warning that hate speech in the mainstream and online media was creating a toxic environment that in turn was inciting people to anti-Muslim hatred, including acts of physical violence as we have witnessed in Christchurch. For decades, western mainstream media and politicians have both consciously and unconsciously painted Muslims as uniquely prone to “extremism” and “terrorism”. Hardly a day passes without a headline, column inches or talk show pointing to a problem or dispute created by the failure of Muslims to conform to so-called western liberal values.

The result is that Muslims have become ingrained in the popular psyche as the “other”, a “problem” and the enemy within. This in turn has legitimised and normalised attacking Muslims in the name of anti-Islamic extremism whilst simultaneously reinforcing the thought process which automatically deems Muslims to be guilty of things they did not do. Media misrepresentation has created and normalised a widespread casual racism/Islamophobia that further nourishes the false narrative and inspires violent attacks against Muslims.

Basu cited the 2017 attack by Darren Osborne who drove a truck into a crowd of Muslim worshippers leaving a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, but what he failed to mention was the relentless barrage of hate speech directed against the Al-Quds Day demonstration on June 18 that preceded that attack in the national and Jewish media. Osborne’s original target was the Al-Quds Day demonstration in London, but he was forced to change his plan after being unable to gain access to the route.

The man who is charged with committing the New Zealand mosques attacks cited Osborne in his so-called manifesto: “I support many of those that take a stand against ethnic and cultural genocide. Luca Traini, Anders Breivik, Dylan Roof, Anton Lundin Pettersson, Darren Osbourne etc.”

Here are a selection of articles demonising the march and those taking part, and conflating peaceful demonstration with support for terrorism:

http://lbc.audioagain.com/presenters/40-maajid-nawaz/402-the-whole-show  – Maajid Nawaz repeatedly referring to innocent women and children who attend Al Quds Day as terrorist sympathisers.

Hundreds expected to protest against pro-Palestinian Al Quds Day march refers to Al Quds attendees supporting terrorism.

Jeremy Corbyn not expected to attend this year’s Al Quds Day march repeats the claim that Al Quds attendees support terrorism.

Pro-Israel groups to hold rally to protest against Al-Quds Day march

The JC Leader: Hatred in public…Journey to come

Opinion: As a survivor of terror, allowing the Al Quds Day March offends me

Sadiq Kahn accused of ‘betraying Londoners’ by Al Quds Day organisers

Opinion – Maajid Nawaz: Flying terrorist flags in the capital is an insult to victims of London attacks

According to reports, Osborne was thrown out of the Hollybush pub in Pentwyn, near his home, for spewing Islamophobic rhetoric and mentioning the Al-Quds Day March, that the attendees were supporting terrorism and that “someone needs to do something about it”

Article: Finsbury Park attack: Suspect may have wanted to target pro-Palestinian rally in London

Finsbury Park terror suspect Darren Osborne read messages from Tommy Robinson days before attack, court hears

Given the fact that Osborne had never attended the Al-Quds March before, we can only conclude he got his understanding of what the event was by reading articles equating the event to support for terrorism, like those above.

On a previous occasion, when we complained to The Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards about MP Matthew Offord falsely accusing the Al-Quds Day rally of showing support for ISIS, and essentially equating law abiding Muslims with terrorism, it wrote back that they did not believe it was something they could investigate.

PRESS RELEASE – UK: IHRC Asks Parliamentary Watchdog To Investigate Hate-Preaching Tory MP

When we complained repeatedly to the Press Complaints Commission about the deliberate misrepresentation of lawful activities by Muslims as manifestations of extremism and support for terrorism, it did nothing. When we complained about the Jewish Chronicle whipping up hate by calling those organising and taking part in the Al-Quds Day rally terrorists it also did nothing.

And when we named and shamed cheerleaders of hate on the BBC, they issued an apology to the individuals we identified, and have ignored our formal complaints.

PRESS RELEASE – UK: BBC urged to retract apologies to anti-Muslim hate-preachers

Evidence has been growing for many years about the environment of hate that incites violence against Muslims in Britain. Our survey in 2015 of hate crimes affecting the Muslim community in the UK showed a staggering 66% of respondents saying they had experienced verbal abuse, up from 39.8% in 2010, while the experience of physical assault had increased from 13.9% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2014 with the intensity of attacks becoming extraordinarily violent. The same survey reported that 87.7% of respondents felt that “those who discriminate against us are highly driven by media content.”

It is not enough for officials and politicians responsible for the security of British citizens to talk about rejecting the terrorists and extremists who seek to divide us. Such words amount to empty rhetoric unless they are translated into real and concrete policies to protect vulnerable communities from extremist violence. The responsibility for terrorist attacks against Muslims lies not only with those who pull the trigger but also those in the media who play the mood music that incites them.

For further reading on Al-Quds Day 2017 please see the following links:

A marriage of convenience

PRESS RELEASE – UK: How Darren Osborne came to be radicalised

IHRC condemns attempts by Zionist groups to smear Al Quds Day

Letter to Mayor of London regarding Al Quds Day apology

ALERT: Racist attacks on Al Quds Day 2017

Letter to Mayor of London regarding his Al Quds Day stance

Letter to Metropolitan Police Commissioner regarding Al Quds Day 2017

British nationalists face-off with pro-Palestine Al Quds marchers