Inside Story

When does a crime become an act of ‘terrorism’?

The attack on the UK parliament has been called ‘terrorism’. Who decides whether a crime is a ‘terror’ act?

British police have said 52-year-old Khalid Masood was the man who carried out Wednesday’s attack outside the parliament in London.

Police say Masood was born in the UK as Adrian Russell Ajao, and he used many aliases.

ISIL, also known as ISIS, has claimed that Masood was one of its so-called soldiers. But British police have not confirmed that he was affiliated with any group.

They have also not confirmed a motive and are trying to establish what he was exposed to.

Nonetheless, the chief of counterterrorism has called Masood a “terrorist”.

When does a crime become an act of “terrorism”?

Presenter: Sami Zeidan


David Canter – criminal psychologist and director of the International Centre for Investigative Psychology at the University of Huddersfield.

Adam Ragusea – journalist and visiting assistant professor at Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

Emily Winterbotham – research fellow for the international security studies department at the Royal United Services Institute.