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June 20, 2017

The Finsbury Park attack opens an interesting can of worms regarding language, definition and terminology. At first the police were slightly retisent to call it an act of terror, or a terrorist attack, but soon changed their minds. So, what constitutes an act of terror? Is it simply an attack that is motivated by hatred and serves to cause terror and division? in which case, isn’t it a hate crime? Or is it an act perpetrated in the name of a cause or organisation? In which case, can this attack be characterised as terror, as, to my knowledge the perpatrator, given his targets, may not have belonged to an organisation or sect with a clear agenda. If the result of his actions was the spread of terror and dischord, there is an argument to suggest it was a terorist attack. But if it was akin to a hit and run, surely it can’t be terrorism. There is ambiguity here, according to some reports, the man who sadly died, had a heart attack before the van arrived. When people gatherd to help, the van ploughed into them. So, in this case, thankfuly, it seems as though there were no fatalities. I’m not trying to in any way diminish the revolting, synical, wickedness of this crime, but I would argue that the term “terrorism” needs to be better defined. The fact that the perpatrator was subdued and arrested is excellent, and of course the press need to be cautious. But in my opinion, this was a hate crime, not an act of terrorism. The fact that he had a similar modus operandi to other adttacks, doesn’t mean that the motivation and result was necessarily the same. 


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