After the terror-related incident in Streatham which ended with the perpetrator being shot dead by armed Police, one pundit decided that she knew all about the causes. “Thanks to our crazy, Lewis Carroll criminal justice system, those poor officers had no choice but to let a sworn enemy of the British people walk the streets”. To no surprise at all, that pundit was the increasingly irrational Allison Pearson of the Telegraph.
Demonstrating why the Tel has become yet more desperate and downmarket of late, she went on “It is my firm belief that only when Muslim girls are allowed to be educated, raise their children and play a full part in society, just like any other British girls, that we may start to see an end to the terrorist threat which blights our country. There is nothing like maternal love (and aspiration for your children) to banish warped male hatred”.
So that was Who Done It. Muslim girls were not being educated! It was not allowed! Sadly for Ms Pearson, this was total guff. Although she claimed “I’ve just been reading up on the history of sentencing terrorists. Hopeless. From one disaster to the next. Public safety never a major consideration. Taking risks by releasing dangerous men because Home Secretaries don’t want them ‘languishing’ in jail”, that didn’t extend to education.
The reality is that 25% of Muslim women aged 21-24 have degrees, against 22% of Muslim men of the same age. And if 25% have degrees, a rather larger percentage of the whole is being allowed into education - most likely the vast majority of them. False assumption allied to innate ignorance and prejudice equals Telegraph columnist.
And although Retweets cannot be taken as endorsements, it is nevertheless worrying to see the kind of social media content she is offering her followers. Like one using a Union Flag avatar musing “Sir Richard Dearlove (frmr head of MI6) on radio last night. Said that each jihadi on surveillance requires a minimum 12 operatives to be tasked … Dear god, the amount of money and effort wasted just to nursemaid these utter scum”.
Jihadi plus scum equals Allison Pearson RT. Moving right along, another she wanted her followers to read asked “What’s the female equivalent of an Islamist paradise please? My idea of heaven is not joining a queue of virgins to have sex with some murderous geek in a suicide vest”. Harriet Sergeant of the CPS there, another beacon of moderation.
On top of that mild outbreak of prejudice, we get a little applied ignorance: “Stalker of Emily Maitlis rightly kept in jail longer after he continued to pose a threat. Jihadist who continued to pose a threat to the entire public released after serving half his sentence”. And what was the law regarding release? You don’t know. You don’t know. YOU DON’T KNOW. So how about doing some, er, journalism and finding out first?
Allison Pearson is in a position of responsibility. As a newspaper columnist, her word will be trusted, for better or worse - meaning that when she exhibits uninformed prejudice, others will in turn have their uninformed prejudice reinforced. The consequence is plain to see in the rise of hate crime against anyone believed to be Muslim.
She may not be a racist bigot. But you can see it from there.
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