This measure makes no sense as an attempt by the British government to improve its relationship with Muslim communities. The term “war on terror” is itself a symptom of our elected officials’ failure to name the enemy — who and what we are fighting, and by extension, why. It would be encouraging if the decision to drop “war on terror” came in order to rebrand it as something accurate and useful — say, the “war against jihad” — but clearly, what will follow the retirement of this term will be more euphemisms for what was a euphemism in the first place.
“Britain starts to drop US term ‘war on terror’,” from AFP:
LONDON – Britain’s Foreign Office is urging government officials to stop using the US term “war on terror” amid concerns it angers British Muslims and undermines government aims, a weekly newspaper said on Sunday.
The government wants to “avoid reinforcing and giving succour to the terrorists” narrative by using language that, taken out of context, could be counter-productive,” a Foreign Office spokesman told The Observer.
The Foreign Office has sent the same message to cabinet ministers as well as diplomats and other government representatives around the world, according to the report.
“We tend to emphasize upholding shared values as a means to counter terrorists,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.
Many British officials and experts, the weekly said, suspect that Islamist extremists find it easier to recruit followers when western governments speak of a war on terror, by suggesting it is actually a war against Islam.
Gary Hindle, terrorism expert at the Royal United Services Institute in London, hailed the decision to drop the term, though it was not clear whether it was being widely carried out.
“It’s about time,” Hindle told The Observer. “Military terminology is completely counter-productive, merely contributing to isolating communities. This is a very positive move.”