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Has 'terrorism' become a meaningless word?

Ros Atkins Ros Atkins | 16:00 UK time, Friday, 6 April 2007

It's one of the stranger looking days in the WHYS office. Our colleague Rabiya is getting married, so we are all looking our smartest (which is still some grades below what some people would call smart) and are off to her reception as soon as the show's done. So if I sound a little snappier on air, you'll know it's the suit that's doing it.

Here are today's topics.... if you'd like me to email them to you each day, just let me know.

Four British soldiers and their translator were killed in Basra yesterday. Tony Blair called the explosion which killed them 'an act of terror'. The phrase has prompted discussion online about whether the word 'terrorism' should be applied to attacks on military personnel. Some say it refers to attacks on civilians.

Is there a danger that if Mr Blair, and others, use such a broad definition of the word, that it will become redundant, and that the concept of a 'war on terror' will lack any coherence? Or is he right to include these kind of attacks under the umbrella of terrorim.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and a dozen non-governmental organisations have accused demonstrating madrassa students of "harassing and terrorising ordinary citizens of Pakistan in the name of Islam". The students have been demanding that video shops and brothels in Islamabad shut. One cleric in turn is threatening suicide bomb attacks if the government tries to stop the students pursuing their beliefs. This follows further debate in the Pakistani and international press about whether radical Islam is beginning to dominate Pakistani life.

We'll hear from all sides of the debate in Pakistan - and if you've a question for Pakistanis involved in the debate, then send it in now.

I'm off next week sunning myself in Cornwall (I know another week off...) so Jo Fidgen and Peter Dobbie will be keeping you on your toes. I'm sure you'll make them feel at home. I'll think of you all as I wrestle another bass aboard my Dad's boat.

Speak to you later.


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