Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet


Last Saturday hundreds of Muslim civic and community leaders joined together during a public meeting in Birmingham to discuss the growing spate of unchallenged hatred and bigotry flourishing against British Muslims in our country. It took place on the same day that more than 1,500 supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) rioted in Stoke-On-Trent against the so called “Islamification of Europe”.

EDL-thugsNo less than six police officers were hurt and five police vehicles damaged as groups broke through police cordons, yet the story was hardly anywhere to be seen in our mainstream media. One wonders what the public, police and political reaction would have been if it was the other way round, if it was Muslims rioting and on a rampage.

There are growing levels of unchallenged attacks on British Muslims in many forms, with the fury continuing to mount. There have been cases of Mosques being vandalised, Muslim students being stabbed on university campuses and general anti-Muslim bigotry spiralling out of control without any rebuff.

Last week in Leeds, a bus driver was arrested after he allegedly called a female passenger a Muslim terrorist and asked her if she had put a bomb on his bus.

In Manchester, bereaved relatives have been forced to erect CCTV cameras at a cemetery after a series of attacks on Muslim graves, while on Boxing Day last year, a mosque in the West Midlands was burned to the ground by arsonists for the second time; these are just some examples of the overt attacks taking place against Muslims.

All over Europe, the far-right have come to realise that in today’s world, attacks on immigrants, blacks or Jews are no longer acceptable if they are to capture a mainstream following. Rather, it is much easier to target Muslims. The BNP’s Nick Griffin, who described Islam as a “wicked and vicious faith”, is already on the record as saying:

“Bang on about Islam … because to the ordinary public out there it’s the thing they can understand. It’s the thing the newspaper editors sell newspapers with.”

At a time when some of our journalists often embark on a battle between who can write the darker tale about Islam or Muslim life, the media coupled with a lack of political will and direction have created a situation where attacks on Muslims, overt and covert, have sadly become acceptable.

In July 2008 Peter Oborne illustrated how anti-Muslim sentiments had achieved a level of respectability in Britain that no other form of prejudice enjoyed. He wrote:

“While overt racism and anti-Semitism were unacceptable in modern society: the systematic demonization of Muslims has simply become an important part of the central narrative of the British Political class; it is so entrenched, so much part of normal discussion, that almost nobody notices.”

Findings from a recent survey conducted by the British Social Attitudes Survey show that the public are far more opposed to Islam than to any other faith. Such views flourish because little is made or shown of the other side. In a recent survey conducted by the Open Institute Society, British Muslims were found to be the most patriotic in Europe.

Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Muslim charities based in the UK immediately pledged to raise more than two million pounds in emergency relief while Muslim students raised more than £300,000 through ‘Charity Week’ at universities across the country for orphans around the world. But you will of course never hear stories of this sort. Because they bluntly do not fit the mainstream stereotype of a Muslim.

The overwhelming feelings at the public meeting called by the Muslim Council of Britain was one of frustration and anger that anti-Muslim sentiments and attacks were not being adequately addressed by both the police and our political class. Enough is enough; we must act.

The usual suspects will of course accuse us of playing the ‘victim’ card, but British Muslims call not for special treatment, but equal treatment. Just like any other community, we call for a concerted effort to challenge extremism of any form which concentrates itself against minorities in a bid to create divisions to the detriment of our society and our country.

Bigotry, hatred and attacks against British Muslims are nothing new. But its unchallenged growth in our country can no longer be ignored. The half-hearted response by the government to this growing phenomenon has been far from adequate to date. The phase for window dressing is over. Now is the time to act.

What is urgently needed is clear leadership from both our police and the government in policy directions in dealing with Islamophobia in all its forms.

In 2005, in response to growing levels of anti-Semitism, a Parliamentary Committee was established to combat the threat. Likewise, at a time when British Muslims are now the new target for hatred and attacks, it is high time a dedicated committee is now set up to investigate Islamophobia in our country.

At a time when we join hands together in remembering the evils of the Nazi Holocaust, it would be most fitting to leave Carly Whyborn of the HMD Trust with the final say who, on Holocaust Memorial Day, referring to the treatment of minorities in Britain, said:

“We can pause to look at how we treat those around us. We can all make the choice to challenge exclusion when we see it happening – we can choose to stop using language that dehumanises others and we can stop our friends and family from dehumanising and excluding others.”

Our guest writer is Kawsar Zaman, law student at the LSE

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  • http://www.librangelical.org.uk Steve Martin

    I hope you have no objections to my copying your article verbatim to my blog (fully credited oc course).

    I believe strongly that the church, particularly the evangelicals, need to gain a different perspective to Islam, muslims and what is currently happening in our nation…

  • James

    “All over Europe, the far-right have come to realise that in today’s world, attacks on immigrants, blacks or Jews are no longer acceptable if they are to capture a mainstream following. Rather, it is much easier to target Muslims”.

    Couldnt agree with you more!

  • Mr. Sensible

    I believe extremism is wrong on all counts, whether it is people like Islam for UK or indeed the EDL or the BNP.
    In Nottingham, we had the misfortune of having the EDL in our City in December; at the same time as we were welcoming our troupes home from Afghanistan.

    The EDL say they oppose extremist Islam, but I’m afraid the truth is they oppose all Islam.

  • Liz McShane

    Anti-muslim bigotry is not just confined to the stereo-typical skinhead, tatoo-bearing thuggish-looking, white working class males that is the EDF… it is also embedded (albeit in a much more subtle manner) by the, articulate, ‘well-educated’,pin-stripe suit wearing types such as tory-liberatian poster boy Douglas Murray – of the so-called think tank – The Centre for Social Cohesion.

    In a R4 debate about the building of a new mosque in Harrow (end of 2009), he justified the EDF protest because they were ‘nativists’ – a vile and divisive term which he uttered with a great deal of relish. Seems like he wants to be the Enoch Powell de nos jours. He might not espouse thuggish behaviour or violence per say, but his narrow view of society & Britishness, although very eloquently articulated, when filtered down to street level will encourage racist attacks on our Muslim brothers & sisters.

  • http://www.ippr.org/security Andy Hull

    as well as Oborne and OSI reports, worth checking out:

    http://centres.exeter.ac.uk/emrc/

    http://centres.exeter.ac.uk/emrc/publications/Islamophobia_and_Anti-Muslim_Hate_Crime.pdf

    The simultaneous rise of Right wing politics and growth of the Muslim population in Europe is going to be a big political issue now and in the years to come. Wilders in the Netherlands. Burkha ban in France. Minaret ban in Switzerland. English Defence League and Against the Islamification of Europe in UK. Respectable journals running articles on ‘Eurabia’. All signs of things to come. Our continent has a new whipping boy. Progressives need to clue up and stand up on this…

  • http://www.ippr.org/security Andy Hull
  • Anne O’Nimmus

    So how do we get the “establishment” & the MSM to denounce this form of bigotry? It’s actively fostered by some parts of the media hyping it up with columnists like Mad Mel, focussing on extreme idiots such as Anjem Choudhary to the point where it seems they’re setting things up so they can find a story on a slow/dull news day. It won’t be curbed unless both government & non-moslem opinion formers are prepared to pipe up long & loud against what is a mixture of reinforcement of bigotry & encouragement if not incitement to hatred. Whenever a moslem does, someone in the media digs up some past statement implying they’re some sort of fifth columnist for the extremist end of the religion.

  • Mohammed Imran

    As a Muslim resident in the West Midlands, I have been at the receiving end of countless Islamophobic remarks, and the Mosque that was burned on boxing day in our locality has deeply saddened us. This is an excellent article from the author and underlines how Islamophobia goes unnoticed or unchallenged in our society today.

    It couldnt have been put better: “British Muslims call not for special treatment, but equal treatment”.

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  • http://investor-planet.net/ business investor daily

    are we in this country just gonna allow this to happen, we might think it dosen’t affect us cos we live in a different part of the country.. but think again there will be no stopping the growth of this takeover if we all sit back and do nothing.The attackers would have been shot in Chicago? Bullshit. I get sick of hearing all you yanks saying “it won’t happen here – we have guns!” – yeah, but so do the Muslims….

  • Kawsar Zaman

    Thank you for your comments. It’s a very important issue which has recieved nowhere near the attention and focus it should do.

    ‘Andy Hull’ you list well what is happening all across Europe and ‘Liz McShane’ the fact that “Anti-muslim bigotry is not just confined to the stereo-typical skinhead…it is also embedded (albeit in a much more subtle manner) by the, articulate, ‘well-educated’,pin-stripe suit wearing types…”

    We need to build coalitions with people of all backgrounds and organisations to be able to fully challenge this growing phenomenon sweeping Europe.

    Kawsar

  • saffiyah

    Thank you for your informative article.
    This is a very worrying trend. Another good article about the Brit Social Attitudes Survey is on UmmahPulse.com in it the writer contacted the survey people and challenged them as to why the Muslim results (showing growing intolerance specifically towards Islam) were literally buried 2 weeks before the rest of the report was release – the answer given to her is quite astounding!

    http://www.ummahpulse.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=548:qtolerant-britainq-uncomfortable-statistics-for-british-muslims&catid=22:jumahpulses&Itemid=130

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  • Flora
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  • http://twitter.com/student74/status/8599681431 Kellie

    RT @tribaldozer: Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet http://bit.ly/cQbqb8 inspired by the BNP lies and hatred? …

  • http://twitter.com/sam_cook/status/8600826944 Sam Cook

    One of the most interesting reads I've had all day: http://tinyurl.com/yan5yoh is Islamophobia now acceptable? #islam #racism #UK

  • Kim

    Quite – an important issue.

  • http://twitter.com/sooperw0man/status/8633441609 Sooper Woman

    RT @uaf: Left Foot Forward: Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet http://bit.ly/cQbqb8

  • http://twitter.com/thabet1979/status/8712045948 thabet

    Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet: http://ow.ly/14v7R

  • http://twitter.com/julaybib/status/8713411346 Yakoub Islam

    RT @thabet1979: Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet: http://ow.ly/14v7R

  • http://twitter.com/uponnothing/status/8716190893 Kevin Arscott

    RT @thabet1979: Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet: http://ow.ly/14v7R

  • anti dhimmi

    Whilst deploring the use of arson and casual abuse, I do sympathise with those indigenous englishmen who people that an alien creed, and, it must be admitted, an occasionally very vicious one,is achieving considerable prescence in our country. Simply if you feel that the poiticians at local and national level, that the chattering classes and the metropolitan elite have created the Islamic problem, then turned a blind eye to the consequences, then you would find that there is little you can do to make your fears heard, without receiving the condemnation of those particular powers that created the problem in the first place. And when the Moslems stop THEIR attacks on Jewish people, whether by threat or physical action or attacks on Jewish property then most of us will consider their complaints more sympathetically. May I in closing make the following points; Islam is essentially a religion of conquest (which has always tended to violence to achieve its aims); secondly when a society accommodates a few hundred thousand Moslems it will always experience problems and discontent ( and the larger the Moslem prescence ,the greater the conflict potential); thirdly Islam has learnt the modern language of leftist grievances, which it uses to establish itself as a victimised community.

  • http://twitter.com/lolwhites/status/8719042526 Lolwhites
  • http://twitter.com/tribaldozer/status/8765551105 Brian Thompson

    Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet http://bit.ly/cQbqb8 inspired by the BNP lies and hatred? no doubt

  • http://twitter.com/june4th/status/8769232714 Noxi

    RT @tribaldozer: Attacks on British Muslims are being brushed under the carpet http://bit.ly/cQbqb8 inspired by the BNP lies and hatred? no doubt