“We Are Currently Under Attack” – A Counterpoint to Hysteria

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Confirmed we have been subject to a terror attack by Islam, we are currently under attack.”  This is the announcement from the English Defence League’s Twitter account shortly after the murder of a soldier in Woolwich today. It seems that after an eight year hiatus, we are once again under siege from the terror of radical Islam. From every corner of the capital, the extremists are pouring from their mosques and descending upon us.

In the words of the initial perpetrator, “you will never be safe.”

For the love of God, stay indoors; the streets are lava, do not set foot upon them.

If you feel that such a response is disproportionate, you clearly haven’t been flicking through your Twitter feed and watching BBC News 24 for the past few hours. This wasn’t an attack on one young soldier, it was an attack on all of us.

In other news, violent crime rates in London continue to fall. From 172 murders in 2006, your chances of being stabbed, shot or strangled have fallen steadily to a point where there were only 98 deaths inflicted in 2012. That is a lot of personal tragedy, but out of a population of  8.2 million, the city’s population is pretty safe, compared to those who live in Amsterdam—where you are four times more likely to be killed at the hands of another.

From 2006 to 2012, there have been 864 murders in London. From these there will be countless different motives—money, drugs, hate-crime, gang initiations, crimes of passion, mental illness—people do awful things for all kinds of reasons. Aside from the odd schizophrenic though, nobody stated their motive as “the total dismantlement of Western Ideology in the name of God.” Well, finally, things have changed. At last we can take to the streets, boycott kebab shops and demand heart-felt apologies from those duplicitous ‘moderate’ Imams. At last we have a death worthy of blanket coverage over all media.

Now I don’t want to come across as some leftie stick-in-the-mud, blinded by political correctness and acting as a contrarian apologist in the face of a genuine atrocity. But I feel the mainstream media is guilty of an extreme double standard in its reporting on this particular murder. Occasionally we will be reminded that this man ‘doesn’t speak for all Muslims’. What we’re not told, is that this man doesn’t speak for even a fraction of Muslims. For well over a century there has been a Muslim population in the capital, a population that stands currently at around one million people and that this year, roughly 1% of the murders in London will be carried out by a radicalised fool following an interpretation of Islam. This thin slice of a statistic will be granted more press coverage than all the other deaths put together. Why are we so sensitive to an attack by this particular lunatic?

When David Black was murdered by the Continuity IRA in Northern Ireland last November, it was never deemed necessary to wheel out a few prominent Irish Catholics to point out the obvious fact that many Catholics disagree with drive-by shootings. We never called upon SCOPE to distance itself from unprovoked assaults with a blade following Nicola Edgington’s murder of Sally Hodkin. In these cases, it’s a given that the community is not tarnished by the actions of the few. The Prime Minister doesn’t cut short his trips abroad and the Home Secretary doesn’t give bleary-eyed speeches declaring that she’s increasing security in Doncaster’s ASDA vegetable aisle. But for whatever reason, we treat our Islamic communities differently.

If the politicians and editors had any sense, they’d treat this murder as they’d treat any other and not grant one individual such disproportionate attention. We’d all be sensible enough to realise that there are people in every community who have the potential to cause us harm, and philosophical enough to realise that sometimes there’s just nothing we can do to stop awful things happening in a highly populated country. The investigation could be left to the police, and the family of the victim could address their loss as the personal tragedy that it is, and not as a national state of distress.

 

*article image property of The Telegraph*

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Discussion38 Comments

  1. avatar

    I think the reason this one received so much attention is also largely due to the fact that a man was BEHEADED with a MACHETE in front of loads of people, right by a primary school, and is then shown on video wandering round with his hands covered in blood.
    People are forgetting this in their lefty outrage. The crime itself is absolutely shocking, as it would be if it had been committed by a white man. That is why there is so much media coverage, its completely barbaric. They dragged the poor man into the road and left him there for all to see – how often does a crime of this calibre actually happen in this country? Of course they’re going to show it a lot, it’s the kind of inhumane behaviour we don’t expect from the UK in 2013.

    I agree though that everyone saying “deport all Muslims” “always the Muslims” etc are morons who need to sit down and shut up. One or two maniacs in a religion does not mean the whole body of religious people are the same. But I understand why the crime has been so heavily infiltrated into the media and social networks – it is shocking and so public that it wouldn’t be appropriate to treat it any other way.

    Luke
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    Although there has been a bigger response than the usual drug dealer lopping another off, or if someone had had a bloody nose after having their ipod stolen, this is perfectly natural. This isn’t Liberia where people are decapitated every day- when the motive for the crime is something bigger than theft or insanity.

    Now what is important is that there IS a religious element, which was, (now not everyday Islam) a huge part of the two mens identities, enough so that they would declare war on behalf of their warped view. Although Islamic organisations throughout Europe rightly distance themselves from such acts, Muhammed (the founder of Islam) was a warrior who expanded Islam by the sword. The killer yesterday was clearly still in a medieval jihad mindset, which all sections of British society should work towards and eradicate together without fear of being politically incorrect and walking on a few toes. For example there should be a more robust defence of our foreign policy to demonstrate that our troops do good, whilst admonishing the bad (certainly the press has had a huge hand in demonising our troops abroad, helped along by Blair and his illegal wars, which is a huge grievance and bullet in the gun of the extremist)

    Anonymous
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    I completely agree with everything you said. I was just pointing out to the author that I disagree with his idea that only Muslim crimes are portrayed in the media and that white crimes are not covered as much, as the fact that this crime was so shocking and barbaric means it would have received equal attention if it had been committed by a white man.
    I don’t see how anyone can deny that this was a crime with a religious causation; the men were shouting God is good, they made comments about revenge for our troops killing Muslims, etc. But as you have noted and I agree, this does not mean all Muslims are like this and I feel very sorry for the good, peaceful Muslims who would consider this as much as an affront to their religion as we do. But there are people denying any religious or political influence here which I think is incredibly naive and as I said, I do agree with everything you said. I was just addressing the slightly ludicrous point in my opinion of the author that Muslim crimes are more televised than white crimes.

    Simon
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    Wow. I don’t think I mentioned race anywhere in the article. I do think that this has all been legitimized by the media though and I don’t think it was a “Muslim crime” like I don’t think the murder of David Black was a ‘Catholic Crime’. If we announced that we were under attack by Irish Catholics when he was shot, then you’d probably be scared of them too.

    Jim
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    There are a number of reasons why this attack is different to any other murder.

    1) the nature of the crime is hardly everyday. Deliberately done on the street in broad daylight, in a shocking way. Somewhat different to a drive by shooting

    2) the David Black Catholic case hardly bears comparison. The reason Islamic council leaders have come out and said those things is because they know there is a very small minority in their religion with extremist view, and it is a problem. There are plenty of Muslims vowing death to the UK, and not many Catholics. There’s no point denying that. I think if an EDL member beheaded a foreigner in the street the reaction would be at least as big. I’m not condoning all the racism that’s flying around but it’s silly to deny that a crime of this nature committed by a Muslim is always going to be sensitive given past events and the wars we are involved in.

    3) The crime was carried out as an attack on the country…a man with bloodied hands staring into a camera shouting ‘we will never stop fighting you’. That’s why it’s got a national response.

    4) The politicians had no way of knowing if this was a one off or the start of a series of orchestrated attacks. It is not just a murder, whatever people say.

    It’s somewhat ironic to write an article which criticises editors and politicians for reacting how they have. David Cameron has reacted in exactly the right way.

    Jim
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    Just saw the EDL likes on facebook have gone from 27000 to 84000…kinda regret my comment now.

    Keep Calm and Carry On everyone.

    Name
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    1) The attack was very similar to the one carries out by Nicola Edgington, they had different motives.
    2) There really aren’t plenty of Muslims calling for the this kind of thing. Which is surprising when you consider our foreign policy. The IRA have been equally as active in the UK the past few years (basically not at all) and they seem to be imbued with a sense of nostalgia.
    3) It was a targeted attack on a soldier. There were plenty of civilians having a chat with the guy. It is almost impossible to define this as terrorism.
    As explained here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/23/woolwich-attack-terrorism-blowback
    4) There was equally no evidence of it being the start of an orchestrated attack.

    Jim
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    1) Really? I read up and I don’t see her beheading anyone in the street.
    2) You might be right. There were riots in western embassies when a Denmark cartoon was published though, so in my opinion there are tensions here.
    3) Well we can argue over semantics. I would define it as terrorism as it was an atrocity with a clear political message which was deliberately publicised. That’s terrorism in my book, but call it what you like.
    4) Yes, but the use of ‘we’ in the rhetoric, clear religious overtone mean it isn’t completely unreasonable to prepare for that. I’d rather my government was over cautious than the opposite.

    Jim
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    Wikipedia: ”Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, often violent, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no legally binding, criminal law definition.”

    By that first definition this is terrorism. The second sentence highlights the ambiguity of the word. I think that saying ‘this is terrorism’ is no stupider than saying it isn’t.

    The thing that’s bigoted is people generalising these attacks to Islam in general, not saying that they are terrorism. I they are white thugs doing it for kicks, it isn’t terrorism. If they are white thugs doing it specifically for some kind of political aim then it is.

    Name
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    There’s a similar range of descriptions in the Edgington case. From attacked with a knife to almost decapitated. The tabloid assertion that this soldier was decapitated is also inaccurate. They both took a knife to a strangers neck with similar degrees of success.

    Name
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    Oh awesome. So bowling into Baghdad to initiate a regime change was terrorism as well.

    Jim
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    Well I would say that’s war but I agree there are similarities, and you could argue that coercion by military might is broadly similar to terrorism. I do not believe however, that we went in to Iraq with the explicit aim of inflicting terror, and I believe the army tried to foster relations with the civilians rather than scare them (with notable and horrific exceptions).

    Out of interest, why exactly do you think 9/11 is terrorism and this isn’t? Because it’s smaller scale? In my opinion the aims and methods are identical.

    Name
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    I think this was clearly targeted and was explicitly explained by the perpetrator to be a response to our foreign policy.

    Jim
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    right. I think that’s my point though.

    Luke
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    No way can our foreign policy EVER be a justification for terrorism, this nearly equates to moral relativism. Whilst our foreign policy in Iraq is not great, In Afghanistan it is closer to being justified. (personally i don think we should be there) But wherever you stand on our troops being abroad, there is NEVER deliberate targeting of civilians by our troops or Nato- where as most ‘terrorists’ aim at civilian targets.
    The whole ‘Muslim Brotherhood’ amongst many Muslims fuels a culture where any attack or death of a Muslim equates to an attack on all Muslims, which is erroneous and downright dangerous. This is the same in relation to criticising Islam, which is not an attack on individual Muslims, but is construed as such. (Check a lot of the rhetoric from key Muslim figures. OFC the vast majority of Muslims are in no way justifying this crime. However both Muslim and Non-Muslim equation of our action abroad to the decapitation of a man in broad daylight…. Crazy.

    Also in terms of Ireland, historically we occupied Ireland politically, but also colonised (both organically and forcefully) thus the historical justification of terrorism has deep deep roots for the IRA… Justification historically condemned by many, but not a huge majority of Catholic Irish, a situation which has changed drastically in the last few years.

    Simon
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    There’s a difference between ‘justification’ and ‘the reason why this stuff happens’.

    I think your claim that western troops have ‘NEVER’ targeted civilian targets may be inaccurate. It’s certainly a big claim.

    You start by saying that our foreign policy is never a suitable justification for terrorism (i agree) but then close by suggesting it is justified by our foreign policy against Ireland.

    Also, this entire emotive “decapitation” thing didn’t happen.

    Simon
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    This site has a few examples where British troops have targeted civilians in Ireland and Iraq. The Americans tend to be better at this though. I don’t believe it to be an endemic problem, but your suggestion that it ‘never’ happened in the past decade seems a bit hopeful. http://www.britisharmykillings.org.uk/page/113/The-Issuess

    Simon
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    I really don’t mind you being so hysterical and reactionary. But if you could manage to be a bit less jingoistic and more consistent it would at least demonstrate that you’ve thought about this event as part of a wider narrative. Not just “bloody hell! I’m outrage we can’t kill brown people abroad without them trying to kill us back.”

    Patrick
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    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/may/02/birmingham-murder-racially-motivated-police

    Anonymous
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    I fail to see your point. There is nothing to indicate a race crime other than the fact that the man was Muslim. The attacker was not shouting about wanting to kill a Muslim, it could just be an unfortunate coincidence that a mad man attacked a person and he happened to be Muslim. I don’t possibly see how you can compare this to a crime where men shouted “God is good”, told people the government will not protect them and that they want to start a war in London. Not comparable in the slightest.

  2. avatar

    Brilliant article, apart from the false stereotype about people suffering from schizophrenia… These people are actually less likely than the general population to be violent and this comment just reinforces stigma. Apart from that completely agree, excellent article 🙂

    Name
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    I’m really sorry you felt like that. Which stereotype though? I was referring to one of the handful of murders carried out by a schizophrenic in the past few years and suggesting that we don’t stigmatise every sufferer.

    procrastinator
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    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23470603
    ‘firmly established the link between violence and schizophrenia determined one-year prevalence of violent behavior in schizophrenia as 8.4%, compared with 2.1% in persons without any disorder’

    bored at SGH
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    Fair play. I was just saying what I have been taught by psychiatrists, this wouldn’t be the first time they were wrong 😉

  3. avatar

    I agree with some of what you’re saying, mainly about painting Muslims with the same brush. People need to remember that when a person commits such a crime in the name of Islam they are not truly Muslim and are doing it for other reasons.

    Of course there are people who have the potential to cause us harm but does that mean we should just sit back and read about it in the newspapers? Definitely not. Look at the London riots, if we just treated it like any other incident then people wouldn’t have got together with their brooms and helped clean the streets.

    It is sad that the media causes a feeling of hysteria in some but we need to stand against sick people who murder an innocent man in the street.. Sadly, they probably want notoriety and they’ve definitely got it now. The barbarity of the crime made it front page news

    Name
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    Erm yeah, basically we should sit back and let MI5 and the police get on with the job they do pretty successfully, like we do with most crime. All the media have done is help the fella achieve exactly what he wanted, he’s been remarkably successful in achieving his goal of sending a political message. By indulging our terrorist fetish, all we are doing is letting people know that if they want to get their message across then they just have to do something awful. The whole catalogue of events is just going to encourage further morons. All reports of murder should be as dull as possible and should never induce notoriety.

    Jim
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    the media is an organic thing though. A journalist writing an article is no different to us commenting or tweeting, and a lot of the hysteria has been generated by social networks rather than ‘the media’. Blaming ‘the media’ is just blaming society really, it’s kinda pointless unless journalists have deliberately stoked the fire, which in this case i don’t think they have. They reported sensationally, but a man being beheaded in broad daylight is pretty sensational (in the negative sense, obviously).

    Rupert Murdoch
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    “The media is an organic thing.”

    LOL.

    Cally
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    Name (aka Simon),

    So, the media is pointless in all of this if we let MI5 and the police get on with their job without even reporting on it. Crime is reported on all of the time. You’re being critical of people that are giving this murder/criminals fame but you have just written an article on it have you not?

    I don’t agree with how the media is portraying the story but I do think that stuff like this needs to be reported on, and that we should stand against these horrific crimes.

    I completely agree with Jim, the sensational nature of the crime put it in the news and has led you to also comment on it. Maybe you’re as guilty as the media you’re pointing the finger to.

    Name
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    Reporting on it is fine. Here’s a psychiatrist explaining why sensation is a silly response to this kind of thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8rMYyegT5Y

    Aside from saying the attack was a bad thing, which I kinda had to do, I haven’t really mentioned it. The article is about the media response.

    I don’t think by pointing out that you have significantly more chance of winning the national lottery than being attacked by a terrorist I’m joining in with a sensationalist media.

    Jim
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    What do you even mean by sensationalist media? Was the BBC and ITV reporting sensationalist, or just reporting what happened on a story that just happened to be pretty sensational?

    The tabloids have been over the top, I agree, but you can’t just point fingers at ‘the media’. An atmosphere of sensation has been created by anyone that writes, reads, talks about the topic because it’s damn scary, and it’s the sheer traffic and column inches that have made this a ‘sensation’. The editors and politicians may well have treated this like any other murder, but more of them have commented and more to the point, it isn’t any other murder, it’s unusual and shocking.

    Name
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    Sorry, should have defined what I meant. By sensationalist I was referring to the blanket coverage on news channels and their almost immediate assertion that the country was “under attack.”

    Jim
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    The BBC reporting I saw, whilst blanketed (is that the right word?) was responsible and factual. I was hardly surprised by the blanket coverage as twitter was going mental and if anything I think it helped to establish the facts rather than the rumour mill which was in full flow on social media. Nowhere on the BBC did I see a claim that we were under attack.

    Sun headlines: yes, having been on their website I agree with you.
    BBC coverage: no, not in my eyes.

    Jim
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    By the way, it’s a good article and you have a very good point, I just think you’re a bit overly strong on it. It’s difficult to control a reaction and in many ways the news channels are just doing their job. There was blanket coverage when there was a helicopter crash in London too, but it doesn’t quite have the same impact as this.

  4. avatar

    The coverage of this has been ridiculously over the top. It wasn’t a massively well organized, well planned or meticulously, timed terrorist attack. It was a couple of crazy guys with no serious connections whose plan seems to have been “hang around outside a barracks until we see someone who might be a solider and then murder him”.
    If these guys are serious terrorists with links to Al Qaeda don’t you think they could have come up with a better plan than that?
    The media seems to be making this out like it’s a massive, well planned attack like 7/7. Newsflash: It’s not. If these guys hadn’t started talking about Islam this would be labeled as some despicable gang crime, reached maybe number 3 on the BBC’s most read stories and everyone would have forgotten about it in two days.
    Despite the horror of the attack, everyone needs to calm down and realize we are not under massive terrorist attack and that this is a couple of independent crazies.

    Anonymous
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    I don’t think so. The nature of the crime is shocking and would remain the news due to that reason in itself. Since when was anyone last beheaded in this country? It’s got the shock factor due to that alone.

    Name
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    What locally? There was David Guy in Southsea last year.

  5. avatar

    What an excellent article. Our media is hysterical. What do you think other manics are thinking now – lets attack someone in London and make sure it’s videod and then wait for the media to do its bit. Just like the London riots (well a few cars , one building set alight by vandals) this will be copied….

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