After London Attack On Mosque, J.K. Rowling Speaks Out On Radicalization
J.K. Rowling criticized the media for helping to radicalize young men.

After London Attack On Mosque, J.K. Rowling Speaks Out On Radicalization

London is suffering as the death count rises from multiple terrorist attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire. As London citizens attempt to come to terms with the tragic tower fire, they are now faced with another tragedy after a man drove a van into a crowd of worshippers outside a London mosque. One person was killed and 10 others injured before the attacker was subdued and arrested by London police.

The attack came less than three months after Khalid Masood drove a van into pedestrians on the Westminster Bridge, leaped out brandishing a knife, and stabbed bystanders. Masood killed a police officer and five others before he was shot by police.

According to Elle U.K., the London mosque attack was not initially reported as terrorism, and the man was described as a “white van driver” rather than as a terrorist. The difference was that the attack targeted Muslims instead of being carried out by Islamic extremists on non-Muslims. The Westminster attack was immediately identified as a terrorist attack.

That kind of reporting aroused strong reactions in many people, including celebrities like J.K. Rowling and Lily Allen. Rowling called out the attitude that mass violence by a Muslim is automatically considered to be terrorism, while an assault on Muslims is not.

The Harry Potter author pointed out that when reports “dehumanize and stereotype,” it leads to radicalization on both sides. She later deleted the tweet in recognition that when a horrific event is unfolding, it’s important to wait for all the facts.

Rowling isn’t backing down about the need to address “victim blaming” though.

“I was angry at what I saw as victim blaming in their immediate coverage (the mention that an Islamist had preached in the area three years ago). I’m still angry about that.”

London attack on worshippers outside a Finsbury park mosque
A police officer places a rose near the scene of the London attack outside a mosque. [Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]

Entertainment Weekly wrote that Rowling was far from alone in being irritated by the way the attack was covered. London Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the London attack was “an assault on all our shared values of tolerance, freedom, and respect.”

Rapper and actor Riz Ahmed tweeted that people who feel threatened or undervalued resort to violence and the solution is to use calm and balanced language.

YouTuber Caspar Lee joined in the Twitter storm to say that extremists of any persuasion have no place in society. He called on media to treat all extremists equally.

Singer Lily Allen has already had some critical things to say about the U.K. government after the Grenfell Tower fire. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that after the London mosque attack, Allen was quick to tweet about how young white men become radicalized by the media.

Rowling and others were particularly upset that the “heroic” actions of the Imam didn’t receive the recognition he deserved. Bystanders “wrestled” the attacker down, but some began to hit and punch him.

The Finsbury Park community is pulling together to support victims after the attack.
The Finsbury Park community is pulling together to support victims after the attack. [Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]

The Standard wrote that the Imam intervened to stop the violence and protect the man until police arrived. He told people not to touch the Mosque attacker, and he put himself on the line to protect him.

[Featured Image by Chris Jackson/Getty Images]

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