This Anti-Immigrant Terrorism Map is Misleading. Here’s Why.

This morning I was checking my social media accounts when these tweets from Lauren Southern appeared on my feed:

I instantly noticed that there seemed to be a lot of orange and red dots in the UK area of the map and across Europe which I just couldn’t place as being locations of terrorism incidents and so I asked Twitter for a source. Someone kindly pointed me to carto.com who have an interactive map of global terrorist attacks since 2012. I zoomed in on the UK and was surprised to notice a number of attacks listed in Bath, Somerset which is about 8 miles from where I live.

What? This didn’t make sense. There was a plot once foiled by our intelligence services which may have involved the city of Bath a while ago but I don’t recall there ever having been an attack… so what gives? Well, the map allows you to click each incident and the first orange dot in my local area reads:

05/05/2015: Assailants threw an incendiary device into a letterbox at Adenvture Cafe in Bath, city, England, United Kingdom. The attackers may have been targetting a company that portrayed the Prophet Muhammad. There were nor eported casualties in the attack. No group claimed responsibility for the incident.

Notice the use of the word ‘may have’. So, straight off this dot isn’t even a proven terrorist incident. I actually remember this incident and know that the Police ruled out this religious motive with the Daily Mail reporting in 2015 that ‘It was originally feared the attack might be retaliation for the pictures of Muslims – but police have now said they believe the cafe was the intended target. A force spokesman said: ‘We are concentrating our enquiries on the hypothesis that this was a deliberate attack on the Adventure Cafe.’

So, that orange dot is misleading. The next orange dot in the Bath area states:

01/02/2013: An assailant set fire to a communications mast in Bathampton town, South West region, England, United Kingdom. There were no injuries in the attack; however, television, radio, and mobile services were disrupted for approximately 80,000 residents. Police arrested one individual in connection with thr attack. The informal Anarchist Federation claimed responsibility for the incident in a post online.

Ah yes. I remember this, too. It was a middle-class, Cambridge-educated white dude who went by the nickname Badger.  Certainly not the image brought to mind when websites such as “Daily Stormer” present this map by writing ‘As we know, terrorism has no race or religion. This then is a coincidence.’ I think you’ve been misinformed, Daily Stormer. Badger, badger, badger, badger…

Just by exploring the sources of the two dots in my local area I can see that their presentation under the title ‘terrorist incidents since 2012’ is a stretch at best and scaremongering at worst.

So, next time you see this map being used as evidence that migration is the cause of terrorism maybe invite people to do a bit of research into the source of the map first because although terrorism is a problem which is contributed to by people who use open borders to aid their cause, it really isn’t as straight forwards as the people using this map would have you believe. And if anything, Poland’s history surely demonstrates to us that the enemy doesn’t always look that different from us and that stereotypes are harmful, too.

Remember folks, question everything.

 

Published by

Hayley Stevens

Hayley is a ghost geek and started to blog in 2007. She uses scientific scepticism to investigate weird stuff and writes about it here while also speaking publicly about how to hunt ghosts as a skeptic.

One thought on “This Anti-Immigrant Terrorism Map is Misleading. Here’s Why.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *