19 August 2003
Mr Kevin Marsh,
BBC Radio 4
Dear Mr Marsh,
At around 7.50am this morning on the Today programme, you broadcast a report from Iraq by your correspondent Valerie Jones. Her report included details of an incident where several Iraqi men were arrested after guns were discovered in their car. Valerie Jones was quoted as asking an official, "Are these men criminals or terrorists fighting the Americans?".
This question raises a couple of others in my mind. Does the Today programme consider Iraqis who are fighting American occupation forces to be 'terrorists'? Could they not perhaps be, say, patriotic Iraqis who want to rid their country of foreign occupation forces or perhaps relatives of those killed or injured during the invasion of Iraq who are now seeking revenge?
The casual and widespread use of the word' terrorist' often joined with the word 'Islamic', 'Muslim' or peoples who are Muslim is unacceptable and has contributed towards creating a atmosphere of increased suspicion directed towards ordinary members of the British Muslim community and their institutions.
Please note also that we are still waiting for an official written response to our letter dated 6th January 2003. You can view a copy of the original letter at:
Mr Inayat Bunglawala,
The Muslim Council of Britain
London E15 1NT