A new counter-terrorism phrasebook has been drawn up within Whitehall to advise civil servants on how to talk to Muslim communities about the nature of the terror threat without implying they are specifically to blame.
Reflecting the government's decision to abandon the "aggressive rhetoric" of the so-called war on terror, the guide tells civil servants not to use terms such as Islamist extremism or jihadi-fundamentalist but instead to refer to violent extremism and criminal murderers or thugs to avoid any implication that there is an explicit link between Islam and terrorism.
Whoever could imagine that such a link might exist?
In any event, describing people like the July 7th bombers (for example) as "Islamic terrorists" does not necessarily imply anything. It is simply fair labelling: these people were Muslims, and they committed terrorist attacks, which they justified on the basis of their interpretation of Islamic theology. The fact that most Muslims don't blow people up, and that there may be other interpretations of Islamic theology, does not change any of this.
It warns those engaged in counter-terrorist work that talk of a struggle for values or a battle of ideas is often heard as a "confrontation/clash between civilisations/cultures". Instead it suggests that talking about the idea of shared values works much more effectively.
40% of Muslims in Britain want to impose Sharia law upon the country. 36% of young Muslims favour executing those who convert away from Islam. Apologies if my frequent reiteration of those figures is getting boring, but they really do demonstrate the breadth of the ideological gulf between Islamic and British cultural values. Talk of widespread "shared values" is just myth-making.The Guardian goes on to tell us that this newspeak represents "a new sophistication", on the part of the government. Which is, I suppose, one way of expressing it, although I prefer the more concise 'dishonesty'. It is dishonest, rather than "sophisticated", to pretend that terrorism carried out by Muslims in the name of Islam has nothing to do with Islam. Still, what else do you expect from a government which characterises terrorist attacks by Muslims against non-Muslims as "anti-Islamic activity"?