Social. Political. Economic. Career| Seyed Ibrahim

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Downgrading ‘Terrorism’ to ‘Massacre’ and Ignoring Europol report

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Here is what Stephen M. Walt wrote in 2010 about the terrorism in Europe:

In 2009, there were fewer than 300 terrorist incidents in Europe, a 33 percent decline from the previous year. The vast majority of these incidents (237 out of 294) were conducted by indigenous European separatist groups, with another forty or so attributed to leftists and/or anarchists. According to the report, a grand total of one (1) attack was conducted by Islamists. Put differently, Islamist groups were responsible for a whopping 0.34 percent of all terrorist incidents in Europe in 2009. In addition, the report notes, ‘the number of arrests relating to Islamist terrorism (110) decreased by 41 percent compared to 2008, which continues the trend of a steady decrease since 2006.’

Newspapers & televisions initially reported “terrorist attack” in Oslo, Norway (at that time only 6 or 7 people were confirmed killed). When it became known that the attacker was a “Fundamentalist Christian” (in the attacker’s own words), the word terrorism disappeared. It became “massacre”, though 77 people were confirmed killed.

Mourners arrive for a memorial service at Oslo cathedral. Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP

Here is a comment from NY Times, about that newspaper’s usage of the term.

I must say that as a Norwegian I feel somewhat angry that this cowardly action of terrorism has been downgraded to “massacre” in the US media now. Blowing up government buildings, targeting innocents, callously gunning down, in a most pre-mediated manner, a huge number of youths. What more do you need to call it terrorism?

And I note that on Friday before the perpetrator was caught, it _was_ terror – even though much fewer people had been confirmed killed.

Get your language straight: This was terror and _not_ a massacre. I will not speculate as to why the change of language was decided upon but it reflects badly on an otherwise outstanding newspaper.

At the Washington Post,  Jennifer Rubin quoted the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ Thomas Joscelyn and AEI scholar Gary Schmitt to say that the attacks were the result of Islamic terrorism. She then concluded the “jihadist” attack on Oslo means the U.S. shouldn’t cut military spending: “This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists.”

The Atlantic Wire notes that “many in the media were left reeling over the fact that others were so quick to report and comment that Muslims were involved, before there was clear evidence.”. Here is their first-class analysis:

Charlie of Guardian said it perfectly in his article The news coverage of the Norway mass-killings was fact-free conjecture

Let’s be absolutely clear, it wasn’t experts speculating, it was guessers guessing – and they were terrible

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