This Week in Islamophobia

by Yasin Bangee

With news of George Zimmerman’s acquittal, it was with *no* surprise that there’s been little reaction in the British press. Most newspapers resigned the story to a small footnote, and why not? Black news is not white news. Minority issues are not white issues.

Another week has gone by in Britain and the same trends march on. Minorities continue to be targeted, and politicians and the media ignore completely.

It’s Saturday and today the EDL are marching in Birmingham. Why? Who knows? A bunch of white men will arrive in Birmingham drunk, head to a bar and have more drinks, fight amongst themselves and leave in police wagons. A great day for democracy. The BBC recently reported the cost of policing the EDL has hit £10m. A waste of resources, a waste of time. Tommy Robinson is appalled at the cost of foreign aid but he’s a giant hypocrite so let’s forget the cost his lads impose on the taxpayer.

The EDL aren’t exactly sure what they’re against. They say Islamic extremism yet many of their members speak of burning down mosques, raping children and stripping hijabis.

I read with interest the story of Terence Baker: Facebook user jailed for ‘appalling’ Grimsby mosque comments.

Inflammatory? Yes. Unbelievably stupid? Yes. Imagine for a second in a parallel universe a Muslim man spoke like this, and think of the front pages that would produce. There’s double standard both in the lack of reporting Islamophobia and with the reporting of Islam.

A lot of people, angry against Islamic extremism and indoctrination, seem oddly intent on taking extremist action, such as bombing mosques, such as deportation, such as “making England English”. It all seems a bit radical to me. Almost as though the EDL intend to parody Islamic extremism to meet their own ideals.


Another bomb

A trend has hit the UK. Mosques are being targeted with explosive devices. Has Cobra been called? No, the Prime Minister was away. No other politicians were around, presumably, to condemn the attacks.

The BBC – Wolverhampton Mosque: Explosion debris found at site

and The Daily Mail – Third bomb is found outside Midlands mosque as counter-terrorism officers question Ukrainian students, aged 25 and 22

reported on this story for a change. Why? Possibly because the suspects, who are also suspects in other bomb attacks on mosques in the West Midlands, are foreign! Ukrainians, we are told. A nice way to lamp both Islamophobia with xenophobia in a bid to keep both domestic and foreign dodgy sorts down trodden.

The media reports did mention terrorism but again skirted the issue of calling it a trend, or a systematic and planned attack on Islam by targeting mosques. Look at the BBC article, and the “related stories” at the bottom. Each a story on attacks on mosques taking place over the last month. Tell me that Muslims aren’t being targeted.

Again, I dread to think of the reaction had it been a school, a church or a pub being targeted. BRITAIN UNDER ATTACK FROM ISLAM, the headlines would cry.

But progress?

A look at Channel 4 and their steadfast approach to portraying Islam also offers hope. Whilst the cynic in me says it’s all for ratings, their stance here Channel 4 rejects criticism over Ramadan broadcast confirms they do not think much of planned boycotts of Channel 4, and that a public outcry did not exist.

I have watched Channel 4 this Ramadan and they offer something unique, a different voice on Islam and what Islam means to everyday Brits. The people you see on the train, at the supermarket and on the street. Islam forms part of their life and yet the mass media producers are hell bent on giving you one warped angle to fulfil their own needs.

Somehow the tide is turning. It’s now accepted in local media that terrorism is not a word used to describe Muslims and yes, shockingly, Muslims can be and are victims of terrorism.

Maybe the next week will bring about more tolerance, and eventually more understanding.

What we need are more stories splashed on the front page. Challenge the ignorant to change their perception of Islam. As evident in the US this week, white America does not like being told it is racist. Britain may not like being told it is Islamophobic but it damned well is. A politician’s voice to at least address the issue would help right some wrongs.

Britain has a Muslim population which is under attack and this needs reporting. Who will lead the way?

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