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Woolwich outrage: we are too weak to face up to the extremism in our midst
It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, yet already the incident feels half-forgotten. In terms of the legal process, all is well. Two men have been charged. There will be a trial. No doubt justice will be done. But I have a sense that the horror felt at the crime is slipping away.
The media, notably the BBC, quickly changed the subject. After a day or two focusing on the crime itself, the reports switched to anxiety about the "Islamophobic backlash". According to Tell Mama, an organisation paid large sums by the Government to monitor anti-Muslim acts, "the horrendous events in Woolwich brought it [Islamophobia] to the fore". Tell Mama spoke of a "cycle of violence" against Muslims.
Yet the only serious violence was against a British soldier, who was dead. In The Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan brilliantly exposed the Tell Mama statistics – most of them referred merely to nasty remarks on the web rather than actual attacks, many were not verified, no reported attack had required medical attention, and so on. Yet the "backlash" argument has sailed on, with people shaking their heads gravely about the need to "reassure" Muslims. Tell Mama equates "hate inspired by al-Qaeda" with the "thuggery and hate of the EDL [the English Defence League]".
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