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UK Manual: Must Not Call Them Terrorists

From the UK’s Evening Standard:

‘Don’t mention Islamic extremists’: Government phrasebook tries to avoid upsetting Muslims

06.02.08

The Government has drawn up a controversial phrasebook on the language of terrorism and is insisting civil servants no longer blame fanatical extremism on Islam, for fear of upsetting the Muslim community.

The new counter-terrorism guidelines suggest that phrases such as “Islamic terrorist” and “jihadi fundamentalism” are too inflammatory and imply that all Muslims explicitly are responsible for extremism.

Instead the leaked Home Office document advises Whitehall bosses that they refer to violent extremism and criminal murderers or thugs to avoid any link between Islam and terrorism.

However, the war on terror handbook has provoked an unfavourable response from people claiming the Government are bowing under the pressure of political correctness.

New phrasebook has been drawn up by the Home Office to prevent civil servants using ‘aggressive’ language that places the blame for terrorism on the whole Muslim community

The document warns that civil servants, police forces and local councils should abandon “aggressive rhetoric”.

It also claims that the use of concepts like “the struggle for values” or “a battle of ideas” plays into the hands of those who wish to frame the issue in terms of a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West.

A more productive approach is to stress the idea of shared values, it suggests.

“This is not intended as a definitive list of what not to say but rather to highlight terms which risk being misunderstood and therefore prevent the effective reception of the message,” states the document, part of a pack created by the Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government.

A Home Office spokeswoman confirmed that the document had been distributed to “key delivery partners” including chief constables, local authorities and Government offices a few weeks ago.

She added: “The pack is the first of a series of communications intended to brief partners about recent work to develop the ‘prevent’ strand of the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy and help them to identify further contributions they can make to this agenda.

“The ‘prevent’ strand relies on all sectors – public, private, voluntary and community – working with central government in its aim of stopping people becoming or supporting violent extremists.

“Coherent and effective cross-government communications are important in relation to countering terrorism. Language is part of this work.

“To engage effectively with local communities, we need consistent, clear and appropriate communications. If our messages are ambiguous or untargeted they will not reach or be understood by those who need to hear them and we risk having a negative impact on our audiences…

For goodness sake, haven’t we learned by now?

We can’t call them extremists or they will cut our heads off.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, February 6th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

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