Britain’s Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has caused outrage this morning after referring to “moderate jihad” on the BBC’s Radio 4 Today Programme.
Speaking about the ongoing security threats to Britain and the wider world emerging from the region, Hammond said:
“The Middle East remains a region of significant instability there’s the situation in Libya, the continuing tension between Israel and the Palestinian Territories, and then the situation in Syria and Iraq.
“The emergence of ISIL as a successor organisation to AQ [Al Qaeda] with an absolutely poisonous ideology, hoovering up moderate jihadist, if you can have such a thing as moderate jihadist, activity in Syria, drawing support from the more moderate Syrian opposition is a major challenge primarily to region but also to West. Partly because they are trying to establish a caliphate from which they would launch attacks against the West, and partly because they have amongst their number significant elements of Western fighters”.
The comment about “moderate jihad” caused outrage on Twitter, with social media users expressing the following frustrations:
Did our foreign secretary really just use the term ‘moderate jihadists’? #r4today
— Paul Embery (@PaulEmbery) August 20, 2014
On R4 foreign secretary Hammond refers to “moderate jihadists”. What have we done to deserve these people? I mean the govt not the jihadists
— David Little (@ukipdealdover) August 20, 2014
What do “moderate jihadists” do? Chop off limbs instead of heads or take long weekends off from holy war? Or back Saudi Arabia?
— Kevin Maguire (@Kevin_Maguire) August 20, 2014
Moderate jihadists! Yes you heard right. A phrase used by our clueless foreign secretary Philip Hammond on #r4today
— Adel Darwish (@AdelDarwish) August 20, 2014
Asked as to whether the British Prime Minister David Cameron should be holiday at a time of crises for the country, Hammond said that Cameron was “pretty focused on what’s going on”.