Anorak

Anorak | Zakaria Bulhan: the tabloids’ favourite Somali-born Muslim terrorist who wasn’t

Zakaria Bulhan: the tabloids’ favourite Somali-born Muslim terrorist who wasn’t

by | 8th, February 2017

Zakaria Bulhan, 19, stood in the dock at the Old Bailey and admitted killing US tourist Darlene Horton and wounding five others – Lillie Selletin, David Imber, Martin Hoenisch, Bernard Hepplewhite and Yovel Lewronski – (all strangers to him) on 3 August 2016. Yesterday Bulhan pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility and charges of wounding. Bulhan has been handed an unlimited hospital order.

Mr Justice Spencer told Bulhan:

“It is quite clear that when you committed these dreadful crimes you were not in your right mind. You were in the grip of mental illness. These were crimes which caused enormous public concern because, from their timing, it was feared initially that they might be the work of a terrorist fanatic. As it turned out they were not, although that is no consolation to your victims.”

So how does the media report an unusual crime that was front-page news? Is it a tale of knife crime, ‘broken Britain’ or mental health care? No. Parts of the media make Islam and otherness central to the story.

 

zaakria bulhan

 

The Star (page 5) says Bulhan mumbled “Allah, Allah, Allah “‘ after he was Tasered by police and bundled to the ground.

The Mail doesn’t mention the story at all.

The Sun doesn’t report on Bulhan.

 

zakaria-bulhan daily mirror

 

The Mirror mentions the story on page 10. ‘Crazed killer is locked up,’ runs the headline in the fourth story down in a sidebar. Bulhan is ‘a teenager who killed a US tourist’. It does not mention what the man of ‘Somali origin’ with paranoid schizophrenia ‘mumbled’.

The Express  covers the story on page 10. Bulhan is the “knife rampage killer’. The story begins: ‘A paranoid schizophrenic stabbed an American tourist to death…’  In the third paragraph, the paper says Bulhan is a Norwegian-born Somali Muslim ‘. You might say he’s a Norwegian. But his nationality had nothing to do with his crime. So why mention his religion, which also had nothing to do with the case?

Whereas the Star heard Bulhan ‘mumbling’ the Arabic word for ‘God’, the Express says, They [Armed police] heard him chanting Allah! Allah! as they Tasered him and found an Islamic leaflet in one of his pockets .’

Mumbling or chanting? And what was on the leaflet? We’re not told.

The tabloids got it wrong with Bulhan. Islamic terrorism played no part in his crime. His religion, place of birth and roots all played no part in his crime. A cynic might think the Press is disappointed by this. But surely papers will get face the problem that writing about mental health lacks the punch and pull of Islamic terrorism, stick to the facts and correct any mistakes made? Surely papers won’t manipulate the story to fit an agenda?

But they do. And it’s ugly.

On August 9, the Mail reported:

Was ‘devout Muslim’ Russell Square knifeman radicalised? Police to trawl ‘impressionable’ attacker’s PC for links to ISIS as neighbour claims mental illness is a ‘scapegoat’

Answer: no. He was not radicalised. He was not in ISIS. He was not a devout Muslim.

The Mail continued:

Counter-terror police will today forensically study computers belonging to the Russell Square knifeman as a neighbour claimed the ‘impressionable’ teenager could have been inspired by ISIS.

He wasn’t.

The Mail called him a migrant on its front page.

daily mail islam

You have already read 1 premium article for free today
Access immediately the premium content with Multipass

Or come back tomorrow



Posted: 8th, February 2017 | In: Google News, Key Posts, News, Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink