Finsbury Park attack: Times faces flak for calling suspect Darren Osborne ‘lone wolf’

In the report, Osborne is not overtly referred to as a racist -- the narrative chooses to emphasise other details such as mental illness.

Written by Nandini Rathi | New Delhi | Updated: June 20, 2017 4:55 pm
London terror attack, Darren Osborne, Lone wolf Finsbury terror attack suspect, Darren Osborne, 47. Image: Facebook.

The coverage of the London’s Finsbury Park attack on the front page of Times newspaper in the UK has attracted much criticism. Darren Osborne, the 47-year-old suspect from Cardiff, Wales, who rammed a van into Muslim worshippers coming out of a mosque on Monday morning, is alleged to have shouted “I want to kill all Muslims – I did my bit” after ploughing into the crowd. The attack left one dead and 11 injured.

In the report, Osborne is not referred to as a racist, even though he reportedly racially abused a child in his neighbourhood a day before the attack. Instead the narrative chooses to emphasise other details such as mental illness. Many people have expressed their shock at the newspaper for not treating Osborne as a white Christian terrorist suspect. Here are some reactions:


As various posts have pointed out, the double standard is apparent in the reluctance to talk about the racism of non-Muslim, white assailants and instead substitute it with a “lone wolf” narrative that highlights mental illness and family issues, while downplaying the ideology of racial hate they demonstrably subscribe to. As many commentators noted, this would not be imaginable if the attackers had been Persons-of-Colour, Muslim fundamentalists, as in the case of other three recent terror attacks. It also hasn’t escaped their notice that the Times is owned by Rupert Murdoch, the international media magnate who also owns Fox News channel in the United States, well known for its right wing tilt.

But the issue is certainly not limited to just one newspaper. It is only one prominent example of the bias that frequently permeates the news coverage.

This “softer” narrative has been amply visible on various occasions when white assailants in various attacks such as the Quebec Mosque attack in March this year or the Church attack in Charleston in 2015, where a 21-year old white man fatally shot nine African-Americans, were not condemned in the hard language at par that used for ‘brown’, foreign terrorists.  Often these far-right terrorists, subscribing to despicable, deep-set prejudices against various minorities, are dismissed as a “one-off” or a “lone wolf”, meaning not worthy of too much concern as a domestic phenomena, even as threat from Muslim jihadists is cried hoarse and repeatedly emphasized.

For all the latest World News, download Indian Express App

  1. C
    Jun 20, 2017 at 6:12 pm
    People/media should know what we learn t in science classes about some gases as "colorless,odorless" but more harmful if inhaled like the same these guys have no color no ethics no humanitarian feelings only beastly and barbaric methods to harm the innocents let the nations/religions/people unite to eliminate the scum/scourge from the planet so that all others can live in peace and prosper. Jaihind
    1. H
      Jun 20, 2017 at 5:10 pm
      Brown terrorists? What the r u saying. There are white, brown and black muslim terrorists. Period. All other white, brown and black people either are victims of these muslim terrorists or are forced to react to muslim terrorists. Pls do not club all brown people with muslim terrorists. It is a lie.
      1. G
        Jun 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm
        Big difference. There are no churches I presume that preach against Muslims and there is no doctrine in the Bible that says infidels should be killed. Also there are no Christian organizations that claim victory over such madness.
        1. R
          Jun 20, 2017 at 11:28 pm
          Maybe you should buy an old testament bible and read it.. preaching violence and killing its second only to quran. Search on google you will find all the mentions along with chapters details
        2. M. Siddique
          Jun 20, 2017 at 3:32 pm
          This double standard indeed shows that they just play around media for any atrocity committed by any bad Person from Muslim Community as act of Godly thing i.e. Jihad (the Holy War). They need to understand that such mentality of violence is never accepted in any religion. Islamophobes write pages of hatred against Islam, but as a neutral person Just Once Read Quran as any other Book. You will know how ill informed and twisted mentality these mongers have and how do they try to deviate and mislead others. Calling only bad Muslims as Terrorist and not from Other community makes "Terrorist"word a mere piece of "Junky Word" to refer few specific people deleting the gravity of that offence for future incidences. May God Bring Peace to Humanity, Amin.