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Home » AMAN Demands End to ‘Religiously Motivated’ Label in Counterterrorism

AMAN Demands End to ‘Religiously Motivated’ Label in Counterterrorism

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Aman media statement

For Immediate Release:

24 April 2024

The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (AMAN) urgently calls for the cessation of the term “religiously motivated violent extremism” (RMVE) in counterterrorism discourse. This label has repeatedly fueled online hatred and, based on historical patterns, will likely escalate hate incidents against the Muslim community.

The Problem with RMVE

Terrorism, fundamentally, is politically motivated. The use of RMVE misdirects public focus from political motives to an entire religion, fostering unwarranted panic and fear. This term unfairly associates violent acts with the Muslim faith, rather than addressing the political ideologies that drive such extremism.

White supremacist or Incel-inspired terrorism is often categorized as “ideologically motivated.” However, when the offender is Muslim, RMVE unjustly implicates a whole religion and its followers. This double standard not only stigmatizes the Muslim community but also glamorises violent acts as religiously sanctioned, inadvertently supporting the narratives of politically motivated groups like ISIS.

The Consequences of RMVE Language

The reckless use of RMVE language by public officials contributes to the spread of dehumanizing conspiracy theories online, increasing the risk of hate crimes similar to the Christchurch massacre. Such terminology emboldens racist groups, escalating threats against Muslims and perpetuating fear and division.

Recent Examples of Double Standards

Recent events in Sydney starkly illustrate the inconsistent application of terrorism designations. The Bondi attacker, known to police for mental health issues, was quickly ruled out as a terrorist. In contrast, the Wakely attacker, also with mental health concerns, was swiftly labeled as a terrorist. This disparity highlights a prejudicial approach that disproportionately impacts young Muslims, who face severe biases when tried before the courts.

Criticism of ASIO and AFP

ASIO Director Mike Burgess, who often warns against inflammatory language, ironically employed terms like “religiously motivated” and “Sunni violent extremism” in a National Press Club address. Such language misrepresents the Muslim world, linking a vast and diverse community to terrorism. This not only disrespects Muslims but also misleads the public about the true causes of terrorism, endangering and marginalizing an entire community.

AMAN’s Call to Action

AMAN emphatically states that the use of RMVE is both reckless and irresponsible. We demand an immediate end to this terminology in counterterrorism contexts. The focus should shift to accurately describing terrorism as politically motivated, thus preventing the undue vilification of the Muslim faith and its adherents.

The NSW Police Commissioner’s rushed and biased designations lead to severe prejudice against young individuals facing trial. It’s imperative that counterterrorism efforts are fair, consistent, and free from religious bias.

For more information on AMAN’s stance and to support our advocacy efforts, please visit our website or contact us directly. Together, we can promote a just and unbiased approach to counterterrorism that respects the rights and dignity of all communities.