Sunday, 12 December 2010

Stop Talking About Terry Jones

It seems simple enough. If you stop giving media coverage to an extremist individual whose outrageous speeches are usually only heard by a congregation of fifty or so people then there's every chance the extremist individual will disappear into the ether. After all, he just wants attention and the world media is currently playing right into that trap.

Most people know the name of Terry Jones by now. He is the US pastor who threatened to burn the Koran on September 11th this year in protest at radical Islam. The amount of coverage he garnered was ridiculous for a man of his standing yet the American public and beyond continued to watch him from a distance and marvel at the way one man could not only disrespect another religion so violently and vehemently but also show a complete disregard for the potential disasters he could have caused. Since then he has tried to qualify his views by saying that they apply to so-called 'radical Islam' only. The trouble is, Jones has yet to qualify what he means by 'radical' and I suspect his views on that change depending on which interviewer he is speaking to.

Now it has been announced that the English Defence League (EDL, a group who protest their fascist label at every opportunity) have invited him to speak at one of their rallies in the UK. These rallies have previously resulted in violent clashes between the EDL and groups such as Unite Against Fascism. Jones joining such a rally is indeed a coup for the EDL and Home Secretary, Theresa May, has revealed that she would try banning him from the UK on the grounds of national security.

Mr Jones must be laughing at the world. From one well-calculated publicity stunt he has gained the attention of several major governments. He is considered such a threat to our society that we Brits are trying to stop him setting foot on our soil. In the meantime, he is headlining on every major news site in the country, has a section in all the newspapers and is easily recognisable. I've even written this blog about him.

Yes, I'm adding to the problem but this is a widespread issue. We consistently give room to sensational stories in the name of free press. All this does is publicise organisations we'd rather weren't on public display. The furore surrounding every rally the EDL holds is a prime example of this. Nick Griffin's appearance on Question Time as leader of the British National Party was the media offering a sensational slice of television that basically turned into a rant against the BNP. It was never about opening the floor to a lesser party; it was about showing a vicious argument on national television.

Do you remember in school you were told to ignore bullies and they'd eventually go away? Thanks to our reluctance to do that with Terry Jones he's now here to stay.

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