Comment: anti-Muslim hatred is a self-fulfilling prophecy

Those who discriminate against Muslims are playing directly into the hands of IS


Anti-Muslim hatred leads people directly into the hands of IS recruiters and aggravates the very issue of radicalisation that we are trying to avert. The more people act out of fear and cause Muslims to be ostracised in our society, the greater the chances of them turning to extremism.

If all Muslims are approached as if they were extremists, with hostility and hatred, they may indeed develop such extremist views in order to defend themselves from this treatment.

Recent figures show that anti-Muslim hate crimes are up by 70 per cent. These crimes vary from cyber-bullying to extreme violence, but it appears that women, particularly those who are identifiably Muslim through their clothing, are targeted more frequently than others. As a result, many Muslims feel under attack and vulnerable in their own country, something that should surely be avoided in a liberal democratic state like ours.

Those who discriminate against Muslims are doing exactly what IS want. As hate crimes are committed, Muslims are cornered into looking elsewhere for protection, identity and solutions. This vacuum leaves Muslims vulnerable and thus more open to extremist exploitation.

IS propaganda is specifically designed to target those who are unfulfilled, defenceless or aggrieved. As Quilliam’s Charlie Winter has put it, IS ‘sell themselves as champions of social justice, law, order and defiance in the face of the ‘oppressor”. Hate crimes and anti-Muslim bigotry push people into a state that makes them more open to IS propaganda and, therefore, more vulnerable to radicalisation.

Hate crimes affect not only the current generation but also our children. We know environmental factors play a key role in growing up for young people. As hate crimes surge, the next generation is increasingly exposed to views that incorrectly paint all Muslims as extremists. This may cause Muslim children to grow up vulnerable to radicalisation, defensive about their faith, and less likely to integrate into British society. This defence can quickly turn to offence as more radicalising triggers present themselves.

Moreover, hate crimes hinder the public image of counter-extremism by unintentionally creating the façade that Islam, rather than Islamism, is being opposed. Counter-extremism tackles radicalisation and extremism as phenomena and is opposed to those who commit or support ideologically-motivated intolerance, violent or otherwise, to further political aims.

If Muslims are being attacked for their faith rather than Islamists challenged for their bigotry, we reduce ourselves to the very intolerance we are trying to fight. This is why human rights are so important to counter-extremism.

Rather than acting out of hate, those concerned about extremism should respond in more constructive ways:

1. We should defend the right for freedom from discrimination and the rights for people to practise their own religion or wear religious attire. We are all entitled to these freedoms, regardless of race, gender, religion or sexuality.

2. We must stop confusing the religion of Islam with the political ideology of Islamist extremism. That way, when we challenge extremists, we will not cause prejudice or impair anyone’s right to practise their faith.

3. When faced with extremism, whether Islamist, far-right or others, we should challenge it just as we would challenge bullying or racism. Preventing extremism is not a job solely for the government or security forces to uphold, but rather a role for everyone to engage in.

4. As TellMAMA identifies, we should engage with cross-cultural exchange and dialogue amongst all cultures, irrespective of faith differences. This will not only make our nation more open and accepting of varied backgrounds, but will also mean that Muslims can play a constructive role in challenging the extremism in their communities.

As a result of these constructive actions, people will feel increasingly at home in their own nation and IS propaganda will have less of a foothold. Critically, these actions are not only useful for combatting extremism; they are also vital components of life in Britain that are worth defending.

Therefore, as anti-Muslim hatred diminishes, so will the perceived need for it.

Jonathan Russell is a political liaison officer and Rachel Bryson is a researcher, both at Quilliam

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76 Responses to “Comment: anti-Muslim hatred is a self-fulfilling prophecy”

  1. The Left Man

    A very good article, and I completely agree with the message. I think the rise of anti-muslim attacks is linked to the rapidity of events outside the UK. As we have experienced in the past immigration and cultural mixing has great benefits to society & individuals. However it is foolish to pretend that integration can happen instantly- it takes time, sometimes multi generational. When we have an establishment that seems to be in complete disarray over a coherent and controlled immigration policy, whilst at the same time people jumping on trains from Calais and Merkel telling the UK it needs to take potentially hundreds of thousands of immigrants (mainly Muslim)- you get fear amongst large swathes of the UK populace. And with fear people lashout, and they lashout at the wrong targets. The political classes are trying to push too much, too soon on the UK, with no regard to the cost paid typically by the most vulnerable in society. This is why we have a rising UKIP vote from the working/unemployed classes.


    You seem to forget that the hate preachers in the mosques have sown the seeds of hatred. And since the seventies the hate preachers were recruiting during prison visits. The muslims cannot expect their hatred of the infidel to go unnoticed. The fact is where muslims settle anywhere the victimhood cry comes from them. The overwhelming thousands of immigrants that have came to Britain integrate and enjoy religious freedom. Islam actively opposes integration. It is a violent religious political entity and good people should oppose it like we did Nazi ism.

  3. steroflex

    You cannot do this.
    Islam is not Christianity. Do not pretend it is.
    Kufarim are not totally human because they are doomed to eternal damnation. They are not welcome in many Muslim homes. Drink, of course, is forbidden – no social life – women are treated very differently – all pork and meat products have to be checked. Living with Muslims is very hard – you do what they want, and it is all one way traffic.
    I have some knowledge of this. I am not just a bigoted prat.
    Take Islam for what it is, not for what you want it to be.
    As a Christian, I am expected to treat everyone with love and, yes, affection and I really do try. If I were not, I should be examining my position very carefully.

  4. steroflex

    The Prophet Mohammed preached peace and tolerance after his first revelation. He was treated appallingly in Mecca. He fled (hejira) to Yathrib where he organised a new religion. He left a military machine specially for warriors. They even pray in ranks!
    The opportunity is that in Meccan Islam we all worship the same God: the curse is that Medinan Islam is not, in any way, compatible with Christianity.

  5. Mick

    Hang on. On the one hand, the mantra is ‘poor little Muslims, so helpless and defenceless’. But on the other hand, how DARE our leaders ask them to look out for their own extremists and shop them to the authorities! THEY ARE PROUD AND INSULTED!

    Oooo, no wonder 80% of London Muslims sympathise with ISIS, or have to run the security services ragged in foiling so many hate plots and exposing imams, feeling so marginalised as they are! Ah, they cause all their own problems.

    Islam is a vile, intolerant and imperialistic religion. Read the Koran. Just sit and read it. Verses 3:89 or 9:29 for example, tell them to kill and subdue ‘unbelievers’ like you and me, just like that, in true war crime style. Sharia culture degrades our West. Even in the boat people, warnings come from even the EU that Islamofascists pack the ranks.

    Why do we have a unique problem with Muslims? Because of their programming. So no wonder they’re not liked, ghettoising themselves and making the world uncomfortable.

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