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Sunday, January 09, 2005

Good Article

Not really had the time to do much blogging recently, but here's an excellent article from The Guardian yesterday.

Muslims are under siege. Police treat them as terrorists. Racists attack them and firebomb their mosques. Journalists and politicians revile their religion. Especially since 9/11, the Islamic community has been assailed from all sides.

That, at least, is the received wisdom - and not just from Muslim leaders. Everyone from anti-racist activists to government ministers wants us to believe that Britain is in the grip of Islamophobia - a morbid fear and hatred of Islam and of Muslims. Former Home Office minister John Denham has warned of the "cancer of Islamophobia" infecting the nation. The veteran anti-racist Richard Stone, a consultant to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, suggests that Islamophobia is "a challenge to us all". The director of public prosecutions has worried that the war on terror is "alienating whole communities" in this country.

I'm the kind of person you might expect to join this chorus. I've been an anti-racist all my life. I opposed the war on Iraq. I think that Britain's anti-terror laws are an affront to democracy. But I also think that Islamophobia is a myth - at least in the way that most people conceive of it. There is clearly ignorance and fear of Islam in this country. Muslims do get harassed and attacked because of their faith. Yet I believe that the hatred and abuse of Muslims is being exaggerated to suit politicians' needs and silence the critics of Islam.

Go read the rest.

|| RPH || 4:11 AM || |