When a decent and mature presenter like Bill Turnbull refers to the Muslims in the UK as "the Other side" it makes me stop and think. He used the phrase in an interview with Peter Taylor this morning on BBC breakfast while promoting a documentary called Generation Jihad that is to be aired on BBC2 on 08 February at 9:00 pm. Asking Peter Taylor about the making of this documentary Bill asks "so who were you able to talk to on the other side"?
I have always beleived that there are always two sides to an opinion or a belief - both with a right to differ. By (I hope inadvertantly) calling the British muslim youth "the other side" is the BBC beginning to take editorial sides? Is the paranoia about "Muslim" terrorism reaching a stage that all Muslim youth in the UK are now prospective Jihadis in the eyes of the BBC. I hope not.
Over the last six months I have had the honour of working with a range of Muslim youth in Cheshire who were keen to get together for charitable purposes, and successfully organising, perhaps, the biggest iftar fund raising event in the North West (yes! the North - hub of wannabe jihadis if media is to be beilieved) to set up a girls school in Swat Pakistan that was blown up by Taliban. Despite continued security threats and recent suicide attack in Pakistan on a similar group that were going to launch a girls school in Pakistan (incidence that got world attention because three of the dead were American soldiers) this Cheshire group of young people is till pushing ahead with the plans to open a girls school, against the wishes of Pakistan based "Jihadis".
I do not, for a moment, deny that we have a problem of radicalisation among a small group of Muslim youth in the UK. Alienating the whole Muslim community and branding them as "the other side" is not the answer to this problem.