THE BLOG

Islamophobia Is Code for Race-Hate and Religious Bigotry - Let's Force Britain First Off Our Streets

23/12/2014 18:48 GMT | Updated 22/02/2015 10:59 GMT

I'm told that if a Muslim comes into their house, sufferers of Islamophobia either jump on a chair and begin shrieking, hit out repeatedly with a broom or ask their partner to try and trap them between a glass and a piece of paper and let them go in the back garden.

While it is only right that we feel pity for the rare victims of this bizarre condition, we cheapen their suffering by continuing to tolerate the use of the term as code for race-hate and religious bigotry.

How much longer are we going to give a platform to thugs in suits struggling to keep a straight face for the cameras as they state they're "not racist, just against radical Islam", while their mates swill Stella and chuck Nazi salutes in the background?

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Photo courtesy of Chris

Even if this bollocks wasn't coming out of the fat faces of a bunch of familiar faces from the BNP and more extreme racist groups, since when was singling people out for persecution due to their religion okay?

Oh yeah. In the '30s in Germany. Because Jews aren't a race are they. They're the followers of a religion, Judaism.

Have a listen to some of the hate rhetoric we're hearing from the likes of Britain First - "Muslims are taking over our neighbourhoods, Muslims won't integrate, the schools are full of Muslims, Muslims are trying to destroy our way of life, Muslims have no respect for our culture, Muslims are grooming and raping our children..."

You all know where I'm going with this. Now substitute the word Jew (or black) for Muslim. See? But this isn't just hate rhetoric coming from Britain First or toned down slightly from Ukip. It has become an acceptable line for newspapers to take.

When did that become okay exactly?

The Muslim community in the UK is overwhelmingly Asian, with a scattering of Arabs and Indonesians and a growing number of Somalis and other North Africans (who don't seem to have become much of a target as yet, possibly because they're quietly getting on with enjoying not being in bloody Somalia any more).

So when these crypto-Nazi groups like the EDL and Britain First talk about marching to 'reclaim' their communities, what they're talking about is in fact the traditional Nazi-skin pastime of Paki-bashing.

There are as many as 2.9 million Muslims living in the UK. If they represent a threat to our way of life, they're doing a shit job - there have been considerably more terror attacks by the Real IRA and against Muslims in the last 15 years than there have been attacks motivated by radical Islam.

But alongside the three bombs detonated outside mosques in 2013 (by the same nutter) and God knows how many violent incidents of 'community defence', religiously motivated abuse and so on, it's considered a hilarious jape to, for example, chuck pig heads into mosques.

I know what the reaction would be to the same happening at a synagogue, or if a cow's head was left at a Hindu temple, or how I would respond to news a severed animal head had been left on the altar of a Catholic church. So why is it Muslim anger at all these kind of incidents is glossed over? Is it because we like our minorities suitably cowed?

Sure, there are some bearded young nutters about who can be relied on to burn poppies in public and shout suitably offensive and deranged slogans for the cameras (and I can guarantee none of the usual suspects are in Iraq fighting for ISIS, this lot are sayers not doers).

And there is probably a lot Muslims could and should be doing within their own communities - I get the impression there are issues around conservative foreign-trained Imams, as well as the fact Saudi money makes it difficult for saner viewpoints to get an airing in some mosques.

But you know what? I've never set foot in one, so I don't think I'm qualified to tell Britain's Muslims how to go about getting their house in order. I do however feel I'm qualified to comment on lazy journalists inciting religious hatred by proxy by publishing soundbites from the nutters at the fringes of UK Islam rather than giving a voice to the millions of Muslims who don't appear to be shouting for the beheading of everyone they don't agree with.

And worse, that UK newspapers are peddling a narrative about Islam in this country that not only panders to the lowest common denominator of public opinion, but echoes the kind of propaganda that smoothed the path to fascism last century.

Sound over the top? Go to the newsagent this morning and see if you can find a tabloid that doesn't have at least one article implicitly implying Islam is a threat to your lifestyle, if not your life.

And as for the tattered remnants of the EDL and BNP, currently peddling fascism while waving poppies (oh the irony) under the Britain First banner, every time these crypto-Nazi scumbags march, it is an assault on Britons of Asian extraction who practice Islam, an insult to those who died fighting fascism 70 years ago and an attack on everything the UK is supposed to represent.

First they came for the Muslims...

The clans of anti-fascists and anarchists who turn out to square up to the bootboys of the new right seem to be the only ones who have the right idea. The editorial policies of Rupert Murdoch and Richard Desmond may be outside of our control, but Britain First have no right to our streets, which means we have a duty to take them back.