The Finsbury Park Incident that took place last night, is unarguably tragic. But the English Media’s coverage of the incident, and general attitude towards the tragedy is not only ill founded but also implies confusion over their definition of terrorism. Newspapers including the Daily Mail have received backlash for the visible lag in calling the event an incidence of terrorism. Others have had to label it a terror attack after the government (with its own lag) announced they were treating it as such. But this label is being shoved in corners, ignored and made ambiguous with the use of unnecessary inverted commas.
An attempt to link Abu Hamza’s hate speech to the incident is completely irrelevant and can be seen as an attempt to legitimize the tragedy.
An example of the hesitance to use explicit language against the perpetrator.
This is now the third terror attack in London in recent times. Quite naturally the bull-headed attitude displayed in this period of tragedy has caused people to respond in turn with outrage:
— asīā (@asiaxxo) June 19, 2017
— Maverick -_- (@Shogunhitman) June 19, 2017
— aleesha (@a_leesha1) June 19, 2017
— MaƦiyah (@mariyahzaman) June 19, 2017
When will the clean-shaven white male community condemn this attack?
— Sagar Patel (@EatTheBurrito) June 19, 2017
Next time a Muslim does it I expect the headline to be “A bearded brown man”
— freedomofthought (@LeftWingApathy) June 19, 2017
— Ahmed (@AhmedLoonat) June 19, 2017
The Western Media’s insistence on calling such acts that can be potentially branded terrorism, acts of the “individually motivated” under the convenient title of “lone wolf” only add to the prejudice prevalent against certain communities. This is especially true when the “individually motivated” white male is absolved of the brand entirely whilst minority communities with vested interests bite the bullet.
Last Nights incident complied with the notion of “lone wolf” evidenced by the Western media’s hesitance in explicitly calling it a terrorist attack and instead using vague language, sarcastic speech marks and headlines that absolved the individual from the terrorist branding. A branding that has time and time again, without aforementioned hesitance, been stamped onto the dark skinned ethnic minorities and a point always been made to mention their religious beliefs, immigrant status and dress. It should be noted, however, that since this is a developing story many media outlets have now been somewhat more explicit in their claims but the initial hesitance is alarming especially considering the parallel with their response to previous episodes of terror involving minorities.
Other than the Daily Mail, an example is The Telegraph which after some time simply removed the inverted commas surrounding the phrase terrorist attack in their headline.
The problematic aspect of the entire ordeal is the initial hesitance of the English Media in addressing the incident in its true light and only taking progressive steps when the UK Prime Minister herself said it was being treated as a terrorist attack rather than its initial condemnation as a tragic accident. However the treatment of the incident by the media showcases the general bias that is held by a vast number of people in both the general public and news media.