Bishop of Coventry asks about impact on community relations of way terrorist activities are reported

On 25th October 2017 Baroness Afshar asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they have made of the impact of official announcements relating to terrorism focussing on the perpetrator’s creed rather than the crime committed; and whether any such assessment has informed their practice in such cases.”

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the difficulty for those of us on the ground, Muslim and Christian, who are trying to work at good community relations is that reportage of these crimes against humanity in the media can fuel hate crime against Muslim people and destroy the trust that we are trying to build in our communities. Does the Minister agree that we need to develop language that learns some lessons from the man who witnessed the Leytonstone tube attack in 2015, who said: “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv”—language that does not incriminate the entire Muslim community, despite their rejection of violent terrorists as not true Muslims—so that we can all stand together under the same banner of peace?

 Baroness Williams of Trafford: I totally agree with the right reverend Prelate, and commend the Church, as I often do, for the work that it does to inspire community cohesion. In my previous role, I was aware of its work on projects such as Near Neighbours. The right reverend Prelate makes the point about the responsibility of the media. Of course, we will absolutely stick up for a free press, but I certainly think that, as he says, the press needs to become more religiously literate in how it reports. I loved the comment that he made about the chap on the tube—I had forgotten that—who said, “You ain’t no Muslim, bro”, because it symbolised what we all think: that we are standing together, Muslim, Jew, Christian, Sikh and Hindu, against the forces of evil in society.



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