Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
6 June 2017, 11:05
James O’Brien says the media needs to take its share of the blame for giving a platform to Muslim extremists and that things have gone too far.
“Who the flip thought it would be a good idea to put a bloke on the telly unfurling his ISIS flag in the park and treating him like the sort of Geordie shore of jihad?”
This was the question James asked in reference to the fact that one of the London Bridge attackers, Khuram Butt, was featured in a 2016 Channel 4 documentary, The Jihadis Next Door.
“How do you think these people felt when the cameras started following them around all day?
“It made them feel like Ozzy and Sharon Osborne, it made them feel like they were the Kardashians of jihad, like they had some form of celebrity that is being fanned and inflamed and enlarged by all the attention that we, brackets but not me end brackets, we give them.”
James said that not only did this give extremists a platform to spread their ideology and a boost to their egos, it also gave those on the right an excuse to hate Muslims.
“I know how it works the other way round and I know huge swathes of hate filled people who see themselves as being at the other end of the religious or the political spectrum, they delight in the fact that Anjem Choudary somehow got conflated with every Muslim in the country.
“The idea that you can stand up and point to him and say 'there you go, they're all like that. They're all like that, they all look like him over there. They're all like that you know.’”
Choudary was jailed in September 2016 for inviting support of ISIL, but before that he had been a regular guest on television programs where he was presented as a mainstream Muslim voice, despite calling the September 11 terrorists “magnificent martyrs”.
Khuram Butt was a follower of Choudary.
James despaired at how Choudary and other extremists were treated by the media.
“You don't notice how nuts things are, do you, until it's too late.”