Muslim leaders believe the BBC is making it harder for them to counter radicalisation by referring to ‘so-called Islamic State’ when referencing their activities, Labour MP Andy Burnham has reiterated this week.
The Shadow Home Secretary and Labour candidate for Mayor of Greater Manchester renewed pressure on the broadcaster to use Daesh as an alternative description of the terror group, which rose to prominence after seizing large areas of Syria and Iraq in 2014.
He insisted the broadcaster’s current description gives a ‘status’ to the radical militant group, which refers to itself as Islamic State, that it does not deserve.
Home Office minister, John Hayes, said the use of the term ‘so-called’ for organisations creates ‘entirely the wrong impression’, as he vowed to telephone and write to the BBC asking for change.
Speaking in the Commons, Mr Burnham said: “I know the BBC has taken to using the phrase ‘so-called Islamic State’. In my view, that is not helpful.
“The use of the word ‘so-called’ does not undermine the following words ‘Islamic’ or ‘State’ but these are the two words that the public hears.
“It gives a status to this organisation that they don’t deserve and also it makes it sound as though they are an authorised branch of Islam.
“I would urge the BBC director general to review this editorial decision and to move, as the Government has done, to the use of the title Daesh.”
Mr Burnham later told Mr Hayes: “I’ve been in mosques recently where, I can say, it causes a great despondency amongst people there working to try and counter radicalisation.
“They say that the use of the word ‘so-called’ does not undermine ‘Islamic’ nor the word ‘state’ and the BBC repeating this is only making their job harder and they feel very strongly about this.”