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Anorak | 3 dead in Marseilles: ‘Allahu Akbar’ ad infinitum

3 dead in Marseilles: ‘Allahu Akbar’ ad infinitum

by | 1st, October 2017

Three people are dead at Marseilles’ Saint-Charles train station in France. Police shot one dead after he’d murdered the other two. The Guardian says the murderer was a “man”, an “assailant” armed with a knife, a “knifeman”. And that’s all.

“Two victims have been stabbed to death,” says regional police chief, Olivier de Mazieres on AFP.

But a clue to what the “man” might have been and why he did it comes via an unnamed French official, who tells France’s Le Monde newspaper that the killer yelled “Allahu Akbar” as he stabbed two women to death.

How relevant is that chant? It’s very relevant, reasons the Daily Mail, which unlike the BBC and Guardian makes the familiar war cry of militant Islam central to the story. “Two passengers are killed as attacker shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ slits a woman’s throat with a butcher’s knife and stabs another at Marseille station before soldiers shoot him dead,” announces the headline.

The Mail mentions “Islamist radicals” in its story. The Guardian makes no mention of Islam whatsoever in its. Why is there such a clear difference in reporting? Why does one publication make Islam a key part of the narrative, whilst another ignores it entirely? I’d hazard a guess that it’s something to do with the uncertain, fearful censorious times we live in. Ever watchful of triggering the slack-jawed mob, the simplest fact is redacted from reports lest it foment a race riot. With free speech and free expression stymied, what should be objective – simply stating the facts – becomes confrontational and daring. Most worryingly, it leaves the facts to actual bigots who adopt the role of rebels and present themselves as brave and knowing sources of ‘truth’.

As for the police, well, the soldiers who shot the killer dead are part of Operation Sentinelle, the military operation launched after Islamists massacred so many at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in Paris in January 2015.

Good the soldiers were there, then.

Aside from a conversation on armed police on the streets this attack invites, is there also a conversation to be had about Islamist violence? Since 2015, more than 230 people in France have been killed in Islamist attacks. Discuss.



Posted: 1st, October 2017 | In: Broadsheets, News, Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink