What is Islamophobia? It is an irrational fear and hatred of Muslims categorized as an identifiable group. Islamophobia is becoming an 'elephant in the room' - it is an actual phenomenon that has gained significant momentum in Europe over the last decade.
Over the last few weeks I've noticed an uncanny resemblance between the caricature flag-burning, blasphemer-threatening, riotous Muslims in the Middle-East, and some (perhaps equally intelligent) so-called 'liberal' tweeters, commentators and presenters in the UK...
Sergeant Blackman's conviction was an accident of justice since his crime was only uncovered when civilian police discovered the infamous video on a serviceman's laptop. However, he will now serve life with a minimum parole tariff of 10 years.
Things have been a little hyperreal of late. It all started three weeks ago with the Damscene conversion of Tommy Robinson and his decision to quit the English Defence League (EDL).
I'm not saying that I know the answers to the questions of multiculturalism, and whether the niqab has a place in modern British society... But I also think that we need to have a proper, open discussion about the state of our society and its values, and to outline exactly what the effect of this kind of legislation would be.
A myopic view that frames terrorism as solely 'Islamic' blinds us to other potential threats. Whilst no society should live in fear of terrorism, the genuine fear felt by many Muslims in the wake of these events demonstrates an insincerity by government to tackle Islamophobia.
Robinson thinks that by partnering with the Quilliam Foundation, who also label practically everyone in the Muslim community who do not share their particular views as 'extremists', he has developed a new ingenious strategy to mainstream his cause. If the somewhat fawning response of the media is to go by, he may well be on to something. It was striking how he was allowed to continuously make references to the dangers of Islamic extremism in broad brush stokes, without challenge or definition, smearing an entire community, conjuring up an image of a sinister 'enemy within'.
We must always leave the door open for groups or people to reform. If we don't accept that people can change, what is the point of arguing, of debating, of reasoning - the bedrock of liberal, democratic politics? Yesterday's extremist is sometimes today's elected representative. That's why we should give Tommy Robinson a chance.
Look at the numbers. A Cardiff University study of 974 newspaper articles published about British Muslims between 2000 and 2008 found more than a quarter of them portrayed Islam as "dangerous, backward or irrational"; references to radical Muslims outnumbered references to moderate Muslims by 17 to one.
In Tommy Robinson, they had a leader who gave them their fun in the sun as well as a purpose. Slimy and manipulative he certainly is, but his innate desire for validation and glamour has long kept him from the road taken by the mindless, bloodthirsty psycho.
If we genuinely believe Tommy the EDL could become even worse - the question is will it disband into it's component parts or become more potent on the streets. It would benefit all to think we can now concentrate more on radicalisation to extreme Islamism, combating militant Islamism and Islamist ideology.
Tommy Robinson and the rarely seen but equally important Kevin Carroll are going to leave the English Defence League. It's not much of a surprise: but the resulting fall out might be. The reason, according to Tommy, is that he can't contain extreme right wing elements with the movement... Readers might be surprised to know that he is the face of the moderate wing of the EDL.
The staff member at Selfridges should be commended for his actions. There needs to be maximum opposition to fascism. Whether that's turning up for a protest, denouncing the EDL online as the Nazi scum they are or refusing to sell them designer underwear, to take a phrase from a far more down-market store than where Tommy Robinson shops, 'every little helps'.
On Friday 6 September, David Cameron refuted a Russian official's summation that Britain was 'just a small island' by delivering a speech that reeked of a Gove-esque approach to popular history entwined with petulant patriotism. He seemed to cry out that "Britain's one of the bigger kids too, even if it wasn't allowed to go to war this time", calling upon the rhetoric of the past as if to prove Britain's place in the present world and reimagining it as it suited him.
I am a firm advocate of our right to free speech in the UK. However, this right must be balanced against other human rights. And in this instance it must be balanced against the right of the people of Tower Hamlets to a peaceful home free from people whose sole aim is to create hostility and incite racial hatred.
After their failed attempts over the last few years to march through Tower Hamlets the far-right and rabidly anti-Muslim English Defence League (EDL) is determined to march again into the borough this Saturday...