Terrorism or an act of violence?

 thedailystar.net  6/20/2017 6:34:26 PM 

When is terrorism simply a hate crime or an act of violence? Only when it involves Muslims, some have complained.

That's the sentiment after the Finsbury Park attack, where many questioned why media were not referring to it as an act of terrorism.

Prominent UK writer JK Rowling led the way, asking on Twitter why the attacker was referred to as a “white van driver” instead of a “terrorist” in one headline.

But she later deleted the tweet, saying she accepted the headline had been written before charges had been brought against him.

Authorities waited hours before confirming that a van attack that targeted pedestrians near two Muslim places of worship was being treated as a terrorist attack. By then the pressure had already been mounting.

Mohammed Kozbar, chairman of the Finsbury Park Mosque was one of the first to describe it as a terrorist attack, in an interview with The Sun within hours of the incident.

The mosque later released a statement on its Facebook page saying: “We are extremely unhappy with the mainstream media not reporting this as a terrorist attack, whereas they are very swift in describing attacks involving individuals professing to be Muslims and acting in the name of Islam.

A hate crime is defined as a crime motivated by prejudice, whether it's racial, sexual or otherwise. Terrorism is defined as the unlawful use of violence to intimidate in the pursuit of political aims.

Darren Osborne from Cardiff, 47, who is believed to be a father of four, has been identified as the attacker.

Witnesses said the suspect was shouting “I'm going to kill Muslims”, and was waving and smiling after he brought carnage to Seven Sisters Road.

The man was initially arrested on suspicion of attempted murder but Scotland Yard said he was later arrested for the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism including murder and attempted murder.

Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the incident as “every bit as sickening” as the recent atrocities in London and Manchester. She originally labelled it “a terrible incident” but firmed her wording later.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan didn't shy away from labelling the act “terror”.

“One of the things that all these terrorists share is a perverse ideology that wants to fuel division and divide our communities. We're not going to let them,” he said, speaking after prayers at the Muslim Welfare House on Monday evening.

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