Seumas Milne’s extraordinary duplicity on the nature of terrorist threats in Europe

You’d be hard pressed to find a  more perfect illustration of ideologically driven obfuscation regarding the threat posed by Islamist inspired terrorism – even at the Guardian – than Associate Editor Seumas Milne’s latest piece.

In, “In his rage against Muslims, Norway’s killer was no loner.“, July 28, Seumas asserts “the continuum between the poisonous nonsense commonplace in the mainstream media in recent years, the street slogans of groups like the EDL, [the rise of right wing parties in Europe] and Breivik’s outpourings is unmistakable.”

Milne then claims:

“In reality, as Europol figures demonstrate, the overwhelming majority of terror attacks in Europe in recent years have been carried out by non-Muslims.”

Interestingly, Milne’s link goes to an opinion piece in Al-Jazeera titled “Nationalists pose bigger threat than al-Qaeda“, which quotes Mehdi Hasan – who advocated for the end of Jewish state in a 2009 CiF piece – characterizing the EU figures in an essay in The New Statesmen. 

However, according to the official EU Law Enforcement Agency report he alludes to, during 2008, “359 individuals were tried on terrorism charges in EU member states in a total of 187 proceedings. Of 384 [terrorism related] verdicts which were pronounced in 2008, 50 percent were related to Islamist terrorism,” a staggering percentage when you consider how relatively small the percentage of Muslims are to the total population in most European states.

Indeed, the EU report notes that “states continue to face a high level threat from Islamists” – terrorists, the report notes, who “aim at causing indiscriminate mass casualties.” Further, it states that “the number of persons associated with ‘home-grown’ Islamist terrorist groups is rising in the EU.”

To provide some sense of proportion, the report shows that, between 2006 and 2008, the number of Islamists arrested on terror related charges was 645, while Right Wing Extremists arrested for terror charges was 59.

In the U.S. the disproportionate number of terror attacks or plots motivated by radical Islam is even more stark. (See here and here).

Moreover, according to the FBI, out of nearly 15,000 people killed worldwide by terrorist attacks in 2009, over 60% of the perpetrators were Islamic extremists.

Milne also warns of the “the rise of Islamophobia in Europe and the US”, while the data completely contradicts this.

In the US, Jews remain six times more likely than Muslims to be the target of hate crimes, figures consistent with a recent report (covering the last eight years) dispelling the myth of “increasing Islamophobia” in the U.S. 

While in Europe, a Pew Global Survey demonstrated that the percentage of Europeans holding positive views towards Muslims has actually risen over the last five years.

Of course, Islamism doesn’t represent the only terrorist threat in Europe, but to deny that attacks inspired by Islamist ideology represents a disproportionate element of that threat is to engage in rank dishonesty.

It’s not surprising that an extremist like Milne – who has glorified terrorist movements in Kabul, Baghdad, and “Palestine”, referring to them as “anti-imperialists” and “resistance movements” – would engage in such polemical malfeasance.

But, it’s scary to ponder how many Guardian readers will no doubt meekly accept his profound distortions regarding the genuine dangers, to the democratic West, posed by Islamist-inspired terrorism. 

15 replies »

  1. With a name like that this man has to be a falling down alcoholic. Someone send him to an AA meeting – if there are any in Scotland, or Ireland, or whatever sheep fornicating nation he comes from.

  2. Milne is a twisted soul who epitomises Comment is Free.

    And I am sick of the sort of half-baked arguments advanced by barely formed human beings like him, implicit in which are that just because one maniac murdered children (a heinous act which deserves total condemnation) this in some way minimises the DAILY activities of murder, torture and terror perpetrated against their co-religionists as well as non-Muslims by the so-called religion of peace. NOWHERE DOES MILNE CONDEMN THEM! Instead he pours scorn on the opinions of those who disagree with his twisted take on the world and whose boots he is not fit to kiss.

    And he leads the way with squeals of “Islamophobia!” at anyone who has the balls to front up to these thugs and their apologists. Given their too ready resorting to violence whenever they are disagreed with, and the pussyfooting by police and governments around their overheightened sense of entitlement, as well as their more vociferous spokesmen’s announced intention that Islam will rule over us whether we like it or not, Islamophobia seems to me to be a sensible way to be.

    If it is true that he has glorified terrorist movements, then he has broken the law and that should be reported to the police.

  3. There seems to be this utterly bizarre assumption (or at least the hint of it) on both the “left” and the “right”, in the wake of the dreadful atrocity in Norway – that we somehow have to “choose” between Islamist terrorist nutjobs and fascistic white terrorist nutjobs. (Not that Islamist nutjobs can’t be white, and they increasingly will be, but you know what I mean.)

    We really, really don’t.

    You can be totally horrified at and utterly fail to identify with the achingly puerile medieval purity fantasies of both. Indeed, that is probably the position of the vast majority of half-way sane people. Condemning one in no way implies a tacit sympathy towards the other.

  4. Milne’s article has the subheading “There is a continuum between the toxic bigotry of the mainstream media, EDL slogans and Breivik’s outpourings”. What a shame he could never acknowledge the continuum between the toxic bigotry of the Guardian, the pro-Islamist slogans of too many extreme Leftists and the anti-semitic outpourings of Hamas.

  5. To see what the official view is of the terrorist threat to the U.K., I checked the MI5 website. This is their view;

    Not surprisingly it points the finger at the main threat, Islamist terrorism, while acknowledging the existence of other minor threats. Although I have no doubt those who suffer from ‘selective myopia’ will try to twist it to suit their own warped agenda.

    • Seamus Milne really is a total arse. He has blocked me today from using Cif after I posted a comment on his article referenced above. I did have a bit of a pop at him but I followed my usual rules of staying away from personal remarks, avoiding sexism, racism and homophobia (because I would do that anyway, not just to follow guidelines). Anyway, if anyone’s interested, this is what got me banned …

      First, Britain historically is a Christian nation and those describing themselves as either Christians or cultural Christians is in the region of 90 per cent (if non-believing cultural Christians like myself are included) – about the same number of the white population. How many of this number are Christian fundamentalists or symapthisers of such a view (or of the far-right views in general)? A very minute number. On the other hand what is the ratio for the muslim population? Of course (as we always are told) the “overwhelming majority” aren’t terrorists but an unhealthy number are certainly sympathetic to what once upon a time those on the left would regard as extremist viewpoints – sharia law, woman’s place in the world, gay rights etc

      Perhaps you think Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Yusuf Islam and Tariq Ramadan are moderates. These mainstream opinion formers have endorsed sharia law and death to apostates and death for blasphemers at various times yet they get treated with deference by the political class and particularly those on the left such as yourself.

      Second, though tempting, you can draw too many conclusions from the actions of one nutter intent on causing mayham. And Breivik was a lone nutter – there has been no evidence to come to light that he acted with anyone else. Socities are always under that particular threat and one individual can cause a lot of damage if motivated enough. The terror plots of the right have tended to be small – as the examples we have seen have illustrated whilst those of Islamic terrorists we have seen have tended to be well organised and funded – often internationally.

      So I’m not surprised the intelligence services regard Islamic terrorism as a greater threat. I know that’s not how you would like to see it because you are in denial about the problems in the muslim community but I’m afraid that’s just how it is.

      • Why was your post deleted? Not sure. It was reasonable enough – except for the OTT bit abour Yusuf Islam and Tariq Ramadan having “endorsed sharia law and death to apostates and death for blasphemers”. Perhaps it was that assertion – which is at best dubious – that was the problem.

  6. Of 384 [terrorism related] verdicts which were pronounced in 2008, 50 percent were related to Islamist terrorism

    You’re being very selective in your references to that report – as is Milne.

    Here’s the Europol report:

    Islamist terrorism is still perceived as being the biggest threat worldwide, despite the fact that the EU only faced one Islamist terrorist attack in 2008.This bomb attack took place in the UK.The number of arrests relating to Islamist terrorism gives an indication of the amount of law enforcement activities.

    Strange how you didn’t quote that section.

  7. I wonder why Seamus Milne didn’t refer to “Europol TE-SAT 2011, EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report”, but used one 2 years earlier i.e. 2009.
    Could it be because the 2011 Report in Section 2, ‘Key Judgments’ says this;

    “In the past year, several EU Member States have
    successfully prevented attacks by Islamist terrorist
    groups, which aimed to cause mass casualties. During
    2010, 179 individuals were arrested for offences
    linked to Islamist terrorism, representing a 50% increase
    compared with 2009. Furthermore a higher
    proportion of those arrests related to the preparation
    of attacks in the EU (47% compared with 10%
    in 2009).
    Additionally, the high number of threat statements
    to the EU (46) posted by Islamist terrorist organisations
    or their media fronts indicates terrorist groups’
    clear intent to target the European Union.”

    Yes seperatist terrorism has higher figures but 155 of those were in Spain alone. You might also find interesting the figues for Right-Wing terrorism in contrast to Left-Wing/Anarchist terrorism, he didn’t mention those either did he?

  8. I value pretzels comments.

    pretzels is a valuable sparring partner, spurring fans of CiFWatch to sharpen their debating skills, to research claims by moral inversionist, socialist “peace activist” (ie. IHH peace activists with knives and clubs) which support reactionary sexist, homophobic, racist groups like hamass, hezbullah, islamist jihadis.

    Thank you pretzels and Happy Nakba!

  9. Milne, Ben White et al are extremists, who after the fall of communism, have found islam as their rallying call, and the fact that islam is religiously, institutionally anti-Semitic, helps.

    These people, along with Rusbridger and his cabal of pro-islamists at the Guardian have hijacked the progressive movement. More and more people are disturbed by their agenda and are turning away from them.

    I see no difference between these people and Galloway, the sympathiser of various Arab despots and virulant anti-Israeli islamist.

    Perhaps this is what Guardian would like us to become.