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20 Jul, 2020 20:19

Jihadi no more? UK police mull ditching ‘Islamist terror’ & similar phrases after complaints from Muslim cops

Jihadi no more? UK police mull ditching ‘Islamist terror’ & similar phrases after complaints from Muslim cops

Police in the UK may drop terms like 'Islamist terror' and 'jihadi' after a Muslim policing group complained they fuel negative stereotypes and suggested substituting less “offensive” terms like 'faith-claimed terrorism.’

The National Association of Muslim Police has complained the use of terms like “Islamist terror” that “have a direct link to Islam and Jihad…do not help community relations and public confidence,” arguing they instead contribute to discrimination, Islamophobia, and negative perceptions of Muslims.

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Instead, they want attackers motivated by religious ideology to be described with the Arabic word ‘irhabi,’ used in the Middle East to describe extremist views – or, if using an Arabic word is a bridge too far for the British police, as ‘faith-claimed terrorism,’ ‘terrorists abusing religious motivations,’ or ‘adherents of Osama bin Laden’s ideology.’

The subject was discussed at an online conference last month addressed by Met Police Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, head of counterterrorism policing, though the matter did not become public until it was reported by the Times on Monday – meeting with more than a little mockery (and some serious concern) on social media.

Counter-extremist think tank Quilliam’s David Toube panned the idea, warning the Times, “People do not like to feel that they are being told only the partial truth…[that] there is a serious problem with Islamist terrorism.

The use of any term that obscures that fact risks damaging public trust in the police.

Met Chief Superintendent Nik Adams said the meeting had been convened to look at opinions from all sides, explaining that, while the police force had no immediate plans to adopt the NAMP’s recommendations for relabeling these offenders, it was “vital” they settle upon the best terminology to “define the threat accurately and succinctly but also to avoid alienating communities crucial to our efforts.”

The NAMP, which boasts upwards of 3,000 members, was established in 2007 to address “inequality and unfairness” in the police service, according to its website. However, many responding to the news seemed not to have heard of it, and some questioned the need for a religious-specific police organization.

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