Advertisement

‘Ta-Ta Qatada’: Islamophobic Moral Panic and the British Tabloid Press

  • Anneke Meyer
  • Scott Poynting
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Crime, Media and Culture book series (PSCMC)

Abstract

The racialised ‘Muslim Other’ has since 9/11 become the pre-eminent ‘folk devil’ in the global ‘West’. Morgan and Poynting (2012) argue that the moral panic framework, suitably developed to recognise the contemporary globalisation of the process, can usefully comprehend this construction of the global Muslim figure of evil and moral threat. This chapter examines the media-driven furore in 2012 over the detained London-based Muslim cleric, Abu Qatada, as a case study exemplifying this. The so-called hate preacher and supposed fundamentalist Islamist proponent of terrorism is quite a stock figure in the global iconography of Islamophobia, and Abu Qatada provides a clear instance. The symbiosis between crusading populist media and political leaders determined to outbid each other in their tough profile in the ‘war on terror’ is well demonstrated by this case. It also illustrates the ideology of purported ‘failed multiculturalism’ and supposed excessiveness of ‘human rights’ promoted in recent neo-conservatism, as well as some characteristic ideological elements of contemporary global Islamophobia.

References

  1. Asquith, N. L. (2008). Race Riots on the Beach: A Case for Criminalising Hate Speech? In A. Millie (Ed.), Papers from the British Criminology Conference, Huddersfield, UK, 9–11 July 2008, pp. 50–64. Retrieved from http://www.britsoccrim.org/volume8/4Asquith08.pdf
  2. BBC News. (2012, April 19). Abu Qatada Appeal: May Defends Removal Delay. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17776335
  3. Bright, M., Burke, J., & Wazir, B. (2002, January 20). UK Terror Detentions ‘Barbaric’. The Observer, 1. Retrieved December 31, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/jan/20/politics.september11
  4. Buchanan, K. (2012, April 22). How Lickspittle Cowards Allowed Piece of Dirt to Live Here Spouting His Hatred of Us. Sunday Express, 36.Google Scholar
  5. Burleigh, M., & Whitehead, T. (2012, February 11). Evil Let Loose on Our Street. The Daily Telegraph, 25.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, S. (2002). Folk Devils and Moral Panics (3rd ed.). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Critcher, C. (2009). Widening the Focus: Moral Panic as Moral Regulation. British Journal of Criminology, 49, 17–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Daily Express. (2012a, March 26). Hate Cleric Is Handed a Bigger Home, 19.Google Scholar
  9. Daily Express. (2012b, April 19). Abu Qatada: Ignore ECHR and Put Him on a Plane. Editorial, 12.Google Scholar
  10. Daily Express. (2012c, April 21). Britain Is Being Demeaned by European Institutions. Editorial, 14.Google Scholar
  11. Daily Mail. (2012a, February 10). The Qatada Question. Editorial, 14.Google Scholar
  12. Daily Mail. (2012b, April 20). Humiliated at Home. Editorial, 14.Google Scholar
  13. Daily Star. (2012a, February 15). It’s Plane Sensible. Editorial, 6.Google Scholar
  14. Daily Star. (2012b, April 1). Abu Qatada ‘to Cost Millions’. Retrieved June 25, 2013, from http://www.dailystar.co.uk/posts/view/243498Abu-Qatada-to-cost-millions-Abu-Qatada-to-cost-millions-
  15. Daily Star. (2012c, April 20). How About Our Rights? Editorial, 6.Google Scholar
  16. Daily Star. (2012d, May 2). Boot Hate Cleric Out. Editorial, 6.Google Scholar
  17. Daily Star. (2012e, May 9). End Abu Dithering. Editorial, 6.Google Scholar
  18. Dawar, A. (2012a, February 7). Hate Cleric’s Deemed a Danger, Send Him Back. Daily Express, 5.Google Scholar
  19. Dawar, A. (2012b, February 9). Stop Kowtowing to European Court and Boot Out Hate Cleric. Daily Express, 2.Google Scholar
  20. Dawar, A. (2012c, February 10). PM Calls Jordan’s King to Help Kick Out Qatada. Daily Express, 2.Google Scholar
  21. Doyle, J. (2012, March 28). How to Get Tough with a Terrorist. Daily Mail, 24.Google Scholar
  22. Doyle, J., & Slack, J. (2012, February 7). Terrorist on the School Run. Daily Mail, 1.Google Scholar
  23. Fairclough, N. (1989). Language and Power. London: Longman.Google Scholar
  24. Flanagan, P., Hall, M., & Twomey, J. (2012, January 18). Fury as Radical Cleric Is Allowed to Stay. Daily Express, 4–5.Google Scholar
  25. Garland, D. (2008). On the Concept of Moral Panic. Crime Media Culture, 4(1), 9–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Greenberg, J. (2000). Opinion Discourse and Canadian Newspapers: The Case of the Chinese ‘Boat People’. Canadian Journal of Communication, 25(4), 517–537.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Home Affairs Correspondent. (2012, April 20). Human Rights Humiliation. Daily Mail, 9.Google Scholar
  28. Hughes, S. (2012, January 18). EU Can’t Kick Out Qatada. The Sun, 7.Google Scholar
  29. Hughes, C., & McTague, T. (2012, February 8). The Right Place for a Terrorist Is a Prison … the Right Place for a Foreign Terrorist Is a Foreign Prison. Daily Mirror, 5.Google Scholar
  30. Kelly, T. (2012, March 26). Qatada, the Happiest Man in England. Daily Mail, 5.Google Scholar
  31. Kelly, T., & Slack, J. (2012, February 14). Even His Mother Wants Him Kicked Out of Britain! Daily Mail, 1.Google Scholar
  32. Little, A. (2012, April 21). Ditch the Euro Court, Say MPs. Daily Mirror, 5.Google Scholar
  33. Malik, S., & Su, A. (2014, September 24). Abu Qatada Cleared of Terror Charges by Jordan Court and Released from Jail. The Guardian. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/24/abu-qatada-cleared-terror-charges-jordan-court
  34. May, T. (2012a, February 7). Speech to the House of Commons. Retrieved from http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120207/debtext/120207-0001.htm#12020774000003
  35. May, T. (2012b, February 8). I’m Doing All I Can to Get Rid of This Man. The Sun, 9.Google Scholar
  36. McKinstry, L. (2012a, February 9). Coalition Fails in Its Duty to Protect Us from This Vile Man. Daily Express, 12.Google Scholar
  37. McKinstry, L. (2012b, February 13). This Human Rights Fiasco Needs to Be Brought to an End. Daily Express, 12.Google Scholar
  38. McTague, T. (2012, April 18). At Last! Daily Mirror, 1.Google Scholar
  39. Meyer, A. (2012). Moral Panics, Globalisation and Islamophobia: The Case of Abu Hamza in the Sun. In G. Morgan & S. Poynting (Eds.), Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West (pp. 181–195). Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  40. Newton Dunn, T. (2012, February 14). Freed: Public Enemy No. 1. The Hate Escape. The Sun, 1.Google Scholar
  41. Noble, G. (2012). Where Is the Moral in Moral Panic? Islam, Evil and Moral Turbulence. In G. Morgan & S. Poynting (Eds.), Global Islamophobia (pp. 215–231). Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  42. Parry, T., & Pettifor, T. (2012, February 15). What Price Freedom? Daily Mirror, 10.Google Scholar
  43. Parsons, T. (2012, April 21). It’s the Court of Inhuman Rights. Daily Mirror, 13.Google Scholar
  44. Pettifor, T. (2012a, February 16). Qatada Pad Busts Cam’s Welfare Cap. Daily Mirror, 11.Google Scholar
  45. Pettifor, T. (2012b, November 13). Laughing in Our Faces. Daily Mirror, 1.Google Scholar
  46. Phillips, R., & France, A. (2012, February 7). Freed to Sponge Off the Country He Hates. The Sun, 6.Google Scholar
  47. Sabey, R., & Pollard, C. (2012, February 15). We Find Hate Preacher—Evil in the Shadow of Wembley. The Sun, 15.Google Scholar
  48. Shipman, T. (2012, February 10). Kick Out Qatada Now, Demand MPs. Daily Mail, 13.Google Scholar
  49. Slack, J. (2012a, February 8). Twisted Ruling Puts Lives at Risk. Daily Mail, 7.Google Scholar
  50. Slack, J. (2012b, November 13). Our Courts Are Now the Puppets of Judges in Strasbourg. Daily Mail, 4.Google Scholar
  51. Slack, J., & Doyle, J. (2012, November 13). Qatada Out Today … at £5m a Year Cost to Taxpayers. Daily Mail, 4.Google Scholar
  52. Spillet, R. (2012, February 27). We Pay £5million to Keep Hate Cleric Safe. Daily Star, 8.Google Scholar
  53. The Daily Telegraph. (2012, November 13). A Mockery of Justice. Editorial, 25.Google Scholar
  54. The Guardian. (2013). ABCs: National Daily Newspaper Circulation February 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2013, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/table/2013/mar/08/abcs-national-newspapers
  55. The Sun. (2012a, February 7). UK Surrenders. Editorial, 8.Google Scholar
  56. The Sun. (2012b, February 9). People Power. Editorial, 8.Google Scholar
  57. Travis, A. (2011, August 18). Terror Suspects Isolated and in Limbo, Says Prisons Inspector. The Guardian, 19.Google Scholar
  58. Travis, A. (2014, June 26). Abu Qatada Cleared in Jordan of 1998 Bomb Plot. The Guardian. Retrieved July 14, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jun/26/abu-qatada-cleared-terrorist-bomb-plot-jordan
  59. van Dijk, T. A. (1998). Opinions and Ideologies in the Press. In A. Bell & P. Garrett (Eds.), Approaches to Media Discourse (pp. 21–63). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  60. Van Leeuwen, T. (2008). Discourse and Practice: New Tools for Critical Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Westcott, S. (2012, March 26). Hate Cleric Abu Qatada Is ‘Happiest Man’ as He Gets Bigger Home. Daily Express, 19.Google Scholar
  62. Wilson, G. (2012a, February 8). Ta-Ta Qatada: Kick Out Hate Preacher Now, Say MPs. The Sun, 1.Google Scholar
  63. Wilson, G. (2012b, February 9). Let’s Try Harder to Kick Out Qatada. The Sun, 12–13.Google Scholar
  64. Wilson, G. (2012c, February 10). Boot Him Out … or He’ll Stay Here Forever. The Sun, 13.Google Scholar
  65. Wilson, G. (2012d, February 10). Majority of Brits Want Him Gone. The Sun, 13.Google Scholar
  66. Wilson, G. (2012e, April 23). MP: Theresa Misled Us on Qatada Cash. The Sun, 6.Google Scholar
  67. Wilson, G. (2012f, November 13). Preacher of Hate Goes Free Today. The Sun, 4.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anneke Meyer
    • 1
  • Scott Poynting
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Manchester Metropolitan UniversityManchesterUK
  2. 2.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia
  3. 3.Western Sydney UniversitySydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations