UKIP London Assembly member Peter Whittle raked Britain’s top police officer Cressida Dick over the coals for her “mealy-mouthed” description of radical Islamic terrorists as “so-called Islamist-inspired”.
Intervening in the London Assembly questions and answers session as there was some suggestion in the chamber that the English Defence League street protest organisation founded — but now abandoned — by Tommy Robinson might be a terrorist outfit, Mr Whitte said: “Whether you agreee with them or not, and I don’t, if you start talking about people like the EDL in terms of terrorism, I think you’re on to a real problem… You’ve got to be careful when you start saying people are terrorists.”
Mr Whittle used this intervention as a launchpad to question the use of terminology by the establishment and, in particular, Commissioner Dick herself, asking: “You’re talking about ‘right-wing’ groups… ‘extreme right-wing’, you have no problem saying that — but then you go on to say ‘so-called Islamist-inspired’. Why are you mealy-mouthed?”
“The guy who, for example, last year, ran into Westminster and killed what, five people with his car, was very clear: he was waging jihad. Most of these people have been very, very clear — why do you have to say ‘so-called Islamists’?” he demanded.
The Metropolitan Police chief, flustered, attempted to justify herself in terms of mollifying certain groups: “I think as a senior police officer it’s important for me, obviously, not to be mealy-mouthed, but equally not to randomly upset people who might get upset,” she said — not quite able to bring herself to say who these people may be.
“The majority of people carrying out terrorist attacks, 90 percent are Islam-inspired. We might not like it, you might not like to say it, but it is the case — why do you say things like ‘so-called Islamists’? You’re the Commissioner,” Whittle fired back.
“Because, I… Chair, I really don’t think we should get into a long conversation about this, not least because you want to push on,” the policewoman spluttered, appealing to the chairman to save her, without immediate success.
“Because, I, ha… In the name of Islam is very different from Islamist for a start. We could get into a really long semantic conversation here, Peter,” she said to the UKIP assembly member, somewhat unintelligibly.
“The fact is, the vast bulk of terrorist attacks, whether it is 7/7, whether it’s Westminster, whether it was in Manchester, whether it was in Borough [Market], are Islam-inspired, Commissioner,” Whittle fired back again.
“The fact is, you have got to face up to this. You’re quite clear about what it is with right-wing extremist, I wish you would be explicit about this,” he added.
The chairman did step in and save her this time, however, telling the UKIP member, “That’s enough.”
It is not the first time the famously politically correct Metropolitan Police chief has clashed with Mr Whittle in the London Assembly, having previously attempted to deny the child grooming and rape gangs being exposed up and down the country had any significant racial or religious dimension, and claim they had “been part of our society for probably centuries and centuries and centuries”.
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