The Sun is wrong to say Muslims should march against ISIS. Here’s why.

Demanding Muslims be more anti-Islamist than the rest of us is a non-starter

Photo: The French tricolor is projected onto an ancient citadel in Hewler, Iraqi Kurdistan (Credit: کێشەی کۆمپیوتەر)

In its editorial today the Sun calls on British Muslims to ‘march through London’ denouncing the terrorist group ISIS after the massacres in Paris on Friday:

“THERE is a simple way for Muslims to denounce the monsters of IS [it begins]: march through London in masive numbers with placards saying ‘not in our name’.”

It says this ‘would show the rest of Britain, and that includes impressionable young Muslims, how much the majority are repulsed by the jihadis, as we know there are’, adding that Muslims ‘have been quick to protest if their faith has come under attack’ yet ‘have done too little in public’ to express solidarity with the victims in Paris.

This might appear a reasonable position, but it is one hugely divorced from reality.

For one thing, there have as yet been no big solidarity marches in Britain over the Paris attacks by anyone. The only demonstrations that have taken place, such as the vigil in Trafaglar Square on Saturday night, were mostly attended by French people. Why should we expect more from Muslims than the general population?

And why a protest? As a method of political action, walking around with placards has long reached the point of general impotence, except as a show of strength after the hard work of organising. (See: the march on Washington in 1963). On certain occasions, like the Paris attacks, they can be valuable in expressing a common sentiment. But the numbers rarely turn out, (a few thousand on Saturday) and nothing really beats a specific set of demands.

Second, as the Sun admits, Muslims are usually the first victims of Islamist terrorism, and (as it doesn’t mention) face an extra threat from racists and xenophobes. How wise would it be then for Muslims to gather in a big crowd in a public place? Jewish people are thought to be more ‘accepted’ in Britain, and I still wouldn’t advise them to congregate en masse.

But most of all, the call for a ‘not in my name’ demo places the burden on Muslims to show ‘the rest of Britain’ that they don’t support ISIS. Aside from this being grossly unfair, it’s obviously pointless. The sort of people who will assume Muslims do support terrorism are not going to have their minds changed by a protest.

It also looks at the problem through a keyhole. On a global level, Muslims protest and fight against Islamism constantly despite grave danger to their personal safety. Decades of struggle against this movement have been led by people of Muslim heritage long before it was noticed by the Sun newspaper, (or Nigel Farage).

Muslims in Britain might decide to hold a ‘not in my name’ march, (though one hopes they would come up with a less puny slogan), but it won’t be at the urging of newspapers that often treat them like a dangerous alien presence.

While Muslims surely have a key role in this struggle – they have no choice – this is a challenge for everyone, and loyalty tests for people facing a double threat are worse than useless. They carve us up into separate tribes and reinforce the propaganda of our enemies.

Demanding Muslims be more anti-Islamist than the rest of us is a non-starter, and terrorism won’t be defeated by a hashtag.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13

Sign up for our weekly email by clicking here.

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

17 Responses to “The Sun is wrong to say Muslims should march against ISIS. Here’s why.”

  1. jj

    I think we are asking Muslims be as defiant against ISIS as a lot of other people are. I see monthly if not weekly marches around the UK by Muslims against Israel, so why not ISIS, who are indeed spreading their terrorism across the world. You talk about Islamism not being defeated by a hashtag, why not, social media and marches have often been affective in showing unity against a force of evil. Muslims should be actively against ISIS.

  2. Michael Worcester

    ISIS are as close to the work of the devil as it is possible to get in this world. ISIS are as close to the life and times of Mohamed even the Cairo seminary said that ISIS are not apostates . Therefore Mohamed was the anti Christ. Everything that happens stems from this.

  3. Eggers

    What a weak Argument. “Why should we expect more from Muslims than the general population?”. Because the terrorists are committing these atrocities in the name of Islam, that’s why!

    I’m a tennis player. If the terrorists committed these acts in the name of tennis players, you can bet I’d be on the streets disassociating myself and my beloved sport from these lunatics in a shot.

    It appears as though there were more Muslims on the streets in numerous countries protesting against the Charlie Hebdo satire, than there were denouncing mass muder in the name of their religion in Paris.

    This does not look good at all in the eyes of many level-headed people.


    I do not know about an anti Christ but they are probably the largest bunch of nutters to inhabit the planet. Do not be fooled they have thousands of sympathisers in the UK and beyond. A supreme effort like the allied invasion of Normandy may be needed. And guess what our politicians let them in and are still doing so.

  5. Fobes

    This article is trash and so are the arguments. “Muslims are usually the first victims of Islamist terrorism” what a ridiculous statement and completely laughable. That’s why they often ask who the Christians are and then shoot and behead and put them on a cross. Muslims are showing the world they are their enemies by not standing against this but by some weak hashtag response.

  6. Michael Worcester

    They are not nutters but misled by a false teacher/prophet . We should allocate resources to help those who want to move away from Islam (now they are persecuted even in the UK ). Teachers of this false way like Ajem need to isolated and preferably exiled.

  7. Mark Rabuchin

    I completely disagree. “Why should we expect more from Muslims than the general population?” Precisely because they are Muslims; it is their religion. It would be important to demonstrate to the world their total rejection of this hideous ideology infecting the planet. But, sadly, if there ever were a mass protest against radical islam and its butchers by their fellow Muslims, it would be the first. It has never happened. And apparently you prefer the status quo. I beg you to re-think your position. Pacifism and cowardice are not what is needed.

  8. blarg1987

    There is a big failure in all of this by the media as a whole.

    Instead of focusing its efforts on reporting for example the Muslim Councils or Britain’s reply which condoned the attacks or even focus on stories such as the Muslim Police officer who was killed patrolling outside Charlie Hebdo.

    Instead we focus on stories of a small minority of people which generates fuel on their fire.

    We all need to do our part, both Religious and non religious.

  9. steven wallis

    What a load of left wing marxist bollocks.

  10. Deeboy

    Such flimsy arguments. Do you really believe in this crap that you write? Laughable that a certain group should NOT join the march when in times like these we need one voice. Try again.

  11. Wobbly chops

    What if they use March to walk in London to blow up suicide women?

  12. unhappy

    What a pathetic excuse…..yet again by a liberal leftie who doesnt want to upset muslims ! Totally missing the point of what the Sun is actually saying. The majority of UK Muslims need to stand up to be counted that they want to be part of British life which is exactly why they won’t, ie, they are publicly silent sympathisers of IS whilst no doubt celebrating at home in their ever growing Muslim enclaves which are no go areas to whites, Police, etc..

  13. andagain

    Demanding Muslims be more anti-Islamist than the rest of us is a non-starter

    Since no non-muslims are Islamists, it follows logically that, on average, muslims are more pro-islamist than the rest of us. That would seem to be the problem.

    To which there is no obvious solution.

  14. Phila Mia

    You are idiot. Muslims should rise up and not listen to stupid article like this. Why? Because ISIS are calling Muslims to join their cause. Abbaoudin ringleader of Paris attack addressed Muslims in his video asking how are they satisfied with the lives they live. He asked them to find their purpose in violence thats why. You see why Muslims should rise up and be united in saying NOOOOO to this call?

  15. dianebucks

    I’m a left wing marxist and I think Muslims should be on the streets marching against ISIS.

  16. Bitchi fuk ur modder


  17. Fobes

    First nice troll name very classy. Second – nice try on that except I’m a realist who just looks at things the way they are. Stop burying your head in the sand.

Leave a Reply