Gordon Brown’s ban on the word “Muslim” in relation to terrorism can be blamed on the EU.
The prime minister has told Cabinet members not to mention “Muslim” and “terrorism” in the same breath.
It comes after the European Commission issued a guide for government spokesmen to avoid offence by ruling out the words such as “jihad”, “Islamic” or “fundamentalist” in statements about terrorist attacks.
It has been working with governments to make sure “non-offensive” phrases are used when announcing anti-terrorist operations or dealing with terrorist attacks.
It is not the first time the EU has tackled the issue of language – last year its guidelines suggested that the phrase “terrorists who abusively invoke Islam” should be used rather than “Islamic terrorism”.
The prime minister avoided labelling the terrorism in his statement to the nation following the Glasglow Airport attack on Saturday.
And Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has followed the same, strict line.
The EU is determined to take front-line action in the fight against terrorism. Yesterday it announced plans to set up a network of bomb disposal units to share intelligence.
EU’s Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini wants to create ‘a European Islam’
Other proposals – which will be presented in October – include sharing air passenger data within Europe and tracking stolen or lost explosives.
It also plans to make it a criminal offence to spread bomb-making instructions via the Internet.
EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini is also going to canvass the 27 member states on how they handle religious education in a bid to prevent Islamist radicalisation.
“The idea under discussion is to have a European Islam,” he said.
“We have to co-operate even more closely on fighting terrorism, on prevention, or radicalisation,” Frattini said.
“There is a network across Europe of people who are directly or indirectly linked.”