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Manufacturing Islamophobia

As someone who lived in London during part of the IRA bombing campaign I remember the “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude. I came out of a building on Regents Street one evening, not realising I was in the middle of an area that had been cordoned off by the bomb squad. I got pulled into a doorway by a policeman while a controlled explosion was carried out a few hundred yards away. I never found out if it had been a live bomb or not as nothing was later reported about it on the news. Fast forward to today and, instead, there is a heavily promoted call to “Be Afraid and Panic” at the slightest thing and I find myself unwittingly playing the part of the suspicious package.

Back in 2011 Baroness Warsi declared that Islamophobia had “passed the dinner table test”. A rather cute way of saying that casually hating Muslims is the socially correct thing to do. Now in 2015 it has clearly passed the “saying it out loud on public transport test”. Within a week social media saw and, to its credit, helped apprehend two blatant Islamophobes caught on camera trying to fight a pregnant woman and a man who needs a walking frame. Not a few seconds of bad temper but each was 5 minutes of extreme frenzied hatred against people they had never met before. Bad enough that no one had offered either a seat in the first place; bad enough that no one came to their aid and in both cases the driver, who must have been fully aware of the aggressive ranting which could have easily turned violent, just carried on his route. Presumably he would never finish his route if he had to stop every time someone aggressively screamed abuse at disabled and pregnant Muslims.

The government will of course have to be seen to deal with these incidents. Both abusers handed themselves in and quickly apologised for getting caught, seeming to know how to play that game.

Some take matters further like the man who entered a school in a predominantly Muslim area in Sweden and started randomly killing people with a sword. Well, it will be portrayed as random by the press and governments who do not actually want to get to the bottom of why everyone has agreed consciously or subconsciously to hate Muslims, because they know very well whose fault it is. They will instead pin the blame on an older far right ideology, not their own.

In something akin to the holders of Third World debt giving those same poor countries a hand-out of foreign aid the Tory coalition set up sympathetic sounding working groups to tackle Islamophobia. They set up the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group on Islamophobia’ and ‘The Cross-Government Working Group on Anti-Muslim Hatred’. The latter was set up to “tackle head-on one of the core claims that violent Islamists make to ordinary Muslims: ‘western governments are not interested in helping you’.” After 4 long years of not working it out, one founding member finally declared: “the government was simply not that interested in anti-Muslim hatred. In fact, to my knowledge, and despite increased concern over extremism and disillusionment among British Muslims, the government has still not undertaken any research into what causes Islamophobia and what might be done about it.”[1]

Well that is a little telling. In fact, far from being interested in preventing Islamophobia it has become gradually more obvious that those in the government are the biggest long-term loyal supporters of it.

Back in 1997, the Runnymede Trust published a report titled “Islamophobia: A Challenge for Us All”[2] in which they decided that “Islamophobia was identifiable where: Muslims and Islam were represented as or seen to be the enemy, violent, aggressive, threatening, separate, and “other”.”

Instead of using the report to avoid or prevent Islamophobia, it seems the “leaders of the free world” have been ticking those points off like a to-do list on a handy manual of how to increase Islamophobia.

Of course there was no difficulty convincing the public that Muslims are the enemy once the West launched wars that no one even bothers trying to justify anymore against two Muslim countries and stood solemnly by as coffins returned home. To paint Muslims as violent and threatening came by the continual exaggeration of the danger faced in Britain after one violent attack on our soil now over 10 years ago, in extreme contrast to the “Keep Calm and Carry On” attitude we were previously so proud of. And now it seems the finishing touch was this season’s drive to convince the public of the unwillingness of Muslims to integrate and our “otherness.”

Ever careful though, just in case non-Muslims misunderstand attempts by Muslims to be a part of the decision making process in a democracy, who might naturally hope that things could be run in a way that takes into account their interests, as being the innocent and normal signs of an integration to be welcomed, the government simultaneously raised the spectre of “Entryism”. Now if you see a Muslim who does not appear to be integrated—maybe he works in a halāl butchers rather than Waitrose or wears a thowb instead of jeans—he is dangerously “isolationist”. On the other hand if you see a seemingly well integrated, overtly practicing Muslim in your workplace or local council you should be afraid and probably report him. He is an Entryist. The Western governments and the corporate media seem to have created perfection in Islamophobia propagation.

How pleased they would be if they read this chilling thread on a kindergarten teachers forum, to see that Islamophobia has now passed the kindergarten test:

Having just taken the latest online Channel training one teacher says: “To be honest I am a bit confused in this area as well. Still cannot understand how it can apply to children under 5 years of age.”

Another more enthusiastically replies “I would have to agree, but as ever it is “us” who have to begin the process I suppose.   Plus there are families who “disappear” maybe we could be the ones to notice subtle changes in the parents coming to our settings, or hear things said in role play by the little ones which they have overheard adults in their lives saying (how many parents think their children aren’t listening or have the ability to take on what is being said – so many parents talk about their partners, ex partners or troubles in front of their children and don’t consider what they are saying). We may even have staff members or students coming into our settings who could become radicalized.”[3]

The government have created an army of civilian investigators and informants from the militaristically termed Frontline Staff. Everyone who comes into contact with the public are being taught to single out Muslims, scrutinize them and if possible why not sneakily interrogate their toddlers to use their unguarded innocence to inform on their own parents. They can then consider if what they hear or see fits into the bogus sinister context that has been imprinted on their minds, so they can feel heroic for being the first to “out” a radical. Not a “terrorist” as this drive started with, or a “Violent Extremist” as it morphed into, or a “Non-violent Extremist” as its mission crept over to but now someone who simply chooses to hold opinions or ways of life that differ from the majority in this no longer pluralist society.

To save the nation from differences of thought Ofsted have assumed the role of “Chief Inquisitor” and are interrogating primary school children to eradicate Islamic beliefs and the institutions that teach them. Pity the condemned school where one 5 year old failed his ducking highchair test by saying it would be wrong of him to participate in music and dance,[4] which was then translated to “If I study music I’ll go to hell!” by the media.[5] Of course Ofsted inspectors and the public alike have been programmed to believe this heinous thought crime, which no one has proven is in anyway harmful to him or anyone else, is the first step on the also disproven conveyor belt[6] that leads to murderous fanatical tendencies in later life.

Will this inquisitor role be pushed out to the wider public? As a typically fear mongering Cameron said in his conference speech there is a “shadow of extremism – hanging over every single one of us.”[7] Sure enough Ian Hopkins the new Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police recently said police would rely on members of the public “recognising the signs of when things are not right and when people are appearing to be radicalised and flagging those concerns.”[8] No doubt we should expect more propaganda aimed at the general public keeping them up to date with the ever-lowering bar of what constitutes “radicalisation”. There is no doubt at all now that the state is deliberately teaching the entire British population to primarily view all Muslims with suspicion; therefore to fear Muslims and be Islamophobic.

As a regular orthodox practicing Muslim I struggle to feel dangerous enough to warrant all this fear and attention so I do wonder if we are just the excuse needed to create a full blown Thought Police infrastructure. The interesting thing is how this framework of state and civilian snooping and informing is being accepted unquestioningly by many of those 95% non-Muslims. This weapon of control is clearly aimed at someone other than them and after so many years of constant Islamophobic propaganda from all angles, so much moral panic, and the box set binges of, so far, 50+ hours of “Homeland”, 86 hours of “Spooks” and 200 hours of “24” they would have to be deaf and blind not to believe Muslims need this kind of oversight.

The signs that this is not just aimed at Muslims are becoming clearer now that the infrastructure is in place. With the inclusion of people who spread conspiracy theories, any one of the 95% currently going along with this might wake up one day and find that questioning the system will simply place them one at a time and defenceless onto the list of harmful extremists who must be silenced.

One British value I used to take for granted was free speech but these days just writing what most Muslims are thinking I am expecting James Bond to crash through my window and shoot me between the eyes any minute now. GCHQ will probably be watching it happen through my hacked webcam. Number 1 on his list of targets during the crescendo of Cameron’s conference speech was to “tear up the narrative that says Muslims are persecuted”. So by critiquing policy, for saying it is a cause of Islamophobia, for saying it is a cause of right wing extremism, for saying it is persecuting us, he is promising to persecute us. Welcome to Tory British Values.

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/19/islamophobia-government-engagement-muslims-anti-hatred-taskforce?CMP=share_btn_tw

[2] http://www.runnymedetrust.org/publications/17/32.html

[3] http://eyfs.info/forums/topic/44232-a-free-online-course-channel-general-awareness-with-certificate/

[4] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ofsted-advice-note-on-tower-hamlets-school-inspections

[5] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/muslim-boy-told-ofsted-inspectors-4671694

[6] https://www.islam21c.com/politics/new-study-extremism-does-not-cause-terrorism-2/

[7] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/david-camerons-full-speech-conservative-6589711

[8] http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2015/oct/29/manchester-chief-constable-airs-thought-police-fears-over-counter-extremism

About Abdullah Thomson

Abdullah reverted to Islam from agnosticism 10 years ago. He works in allied health and as the secretary of his local mosque. He continues to try his best to understand the challenges of the dunya in the light of revelation and tries to bring his experience of previously being a British non-Muslim to his da'wah efforts.

15 comments

  1. ‘Everyone has agreed consciously or subconsciously to hate Muslims’; ‘There was no difficulty convincing the public that Muslims are the enemy’; ‘There is no doubt at all now that the state is deliberately teaching the entire British population to primarily view all Muslims with suspicion; therefore to fear Muslims and be Islamophobic.’

    You believe all the above to be true, so you needn’t ‘struggle to feel dangerous enough to warrant all this fear and attention’ – you’ve ticked that box. Or is this just the ‘passion’ (which I read as theatrical rhetoric) which you seem to find so exciting? Most interesting of all, though, is that you claim to speak for the majority of both Muslims and non-Muslims, which is impressive, and possibly a first: it’s as if you didn’t need the rest of the world at all.

  2. A phobia is an irrational fear. In light of what is going on in the world today can you really argue that fear of Islam is irrational? Who is creating more fear of Islam Isis or David Cameron? Are you demanding that the press stop reporting on Isis or anything at all that could possibly make Islam look bad?
    Fear and hatred of Islam is not being manufactured by some clandestine conspiracy between the government and the press it is being created by the words and actions of certain Muslims themselves. Are you seriously trying to deny that there are individual Muslims whose actions cause fear of Islam? Do you think all the heads of all the different press companies, fierce business rivals, decided one day to hatch a dastardly plot to make Muslims look bad? And as for your joke about being assassinated for writing this nonsense. Rather self important aren’t we? Don’t worry you’re not living under Sharia law you can say what you like. Nobody’s going to issue a fatwa against you like they did Salman Rushdie. Pathetic little brainwashed little worm you are.

    • lol looks like the author struck a nerve with the irrational

    • Muhammad Thomson

      Thanks Adam, good to see some passion there. Lets leave aside important facts like that ISIS is not Islam and comparative body counts. You’re right that Islamophobia means an irrational fear and for that it’s a good term. As i said in the article the narrative these days is not to fear all Muslims due to violence as clearly there are nowhere near a high enough percentage of violent Muslims to make that work. The fear is not very proportional to the amount of risk is it Adam. Considering the epic destruction and death wrought on the Muslim world recently the Muslims are incredibly calm still. But still, war makes the economy go around and people need to fear the enemy so you are being programmed to fear Muslims for the innocent differences we have. The boy whose parents choose not to teach him music for example. How can that be held up as something so terrible that the school is recommended for urgent closure. Where is the empirical evidence that this is even harmful to him let alone a worry for everyone else? No need for it because the test is that it’s “Un-British” not to do music. We all love a sing song don’t we Adam! Muslim scholars are being banned from speaking for the evil crime of separating the sexes at educational lectures. How very dare they!! Wouldn’t happen at Eton would it Adam!

      Isn’t fearing these things a highly irrational? How can everyone decide in unison to irrationally fear completely innocent things unless it is manufactured? I’m not saying it’s a clandestine conspiracy (why are you trying to make it sound mysterious and exciting Adam?) but rather that it is plain old open policy declared in multiple speeches by the government in broad daylight. Only the non-muslims aren’t able to see it for what it is because you have been drip fed this rubbish for years now.

      If you can convince yourself that separating the sexes at lectures and not teaching music are “evils” i might know of an opening at the Quilliam foundation for you.

  3. Excellent piece brother.
    The only effective way we muslims know to defend ourselves in a hostile environment is to invite people to this Deen.
    Thinking that one team is better than the other is an illusion.

  4. “Now in 2015 [offensive remarks about muslims] has clearly passed the “saying it out loud on public transport test”.”

    Well, no, it hasn’t. If it had there would not have been so much concern and publicity and the people responsible would not have been found so quickly.
    The important difference between the IRA and contemporary would-be-martyrs is that the IRA were intent on causing economic damage or were aiming at military or political targets and tried to avoid other casualties, whereas the would-be-martyrs regard “all those slags dancing around” or people on an Underground train as fair game.

    • @hector
      “The important difference between the IRA and contemporary would-be-martyrs is that the IRA were intent on causing economic damage or were aiming at military or political targets and tried to avoid other casualties”

      Well as someone who worked @ Harrods during the IRA campaign, I didn’t see myself as any of the above, when they planted the bomb!! I was just a sales assistant…..
      You are always spouting crap Hector mate!

      • I see.
        You think “all those slags dancing around” or people on an Underground train as fair game but shop assistants at Harrods aren;t.

        • @Hector
          “all those slags dancing around”
          I do believe these were your words, not mine! Looool
          #Yawn #Same old same old….

          • “No one can even turn around and say, ‘Oh they were innocent, all those slags dancing around’.” were actually the words of a chap named Jawad Akbar: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2007/apr/30/terrorism.world1

            You don’t say which Harrods’ bomb you encountered. Both bombings – 1983 and 1993 – had warnings given over thirty minutes before the bombs went off. The jihad bombings on 7 July 2005 were impromptu and unforeseen. None of the victims were asked if they would like to be martyrs. The fact that the would-be-martyrs who tried to repeat the operation two weeks later used the same technique suggests it is the iideal technique in their eyes.

  5. This country of mine needs Islam-Muslims in all spheres of life to protect the oppressors and oppressed, i.e. British English/White/Other with the truth of Islam = light in the darkness for all creation.

  6. AOA

    Pls publish this piece i have submitted with surah mulk on. jzk.

  7. بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

    Assalamualikum wa rahmatuallah

    Hear hear, an excellent piece of writing.

    I’m quite concerned for myself, family and Muslims growing up in our country to experience this evil laws and ways that are NOT British values.

    Who is really behind these hate crimes, changes to the law to target our babies in school, us in work and public life as well as in our leisure time.

    What comes around goes around. Is it time we British Muslims also set up our own surveillance team at every pubs, clubs, churches, synagogue and public places, schools, university and businesses? Let’s have at least the data collected first for our own safety.

    Two weeks ago NEW signs (never there before) were up at http://www.iccuk.org; Regent Park Mosque, one in the reception/hall way area, the other as you come in/out of the car park, ‘cctv with voice recording’. Where else in the mosque are we being voice recorded!? Is LMC/ELM also with cctv with voice recording too? I didn’t know it was lawful to voice record and where are the signs saying this to the public and no announcement of this. Everything else is announced why not this?

    I would appreciate it if you would publish a piece on cctv and voice recording law, i.e. why, how, who, where, when. How ‘voice recording’ can be totally eradicated in our mosques? How are the mosques and Muslim Imam/Management protecting our freedom/rights/safety in our own Mosques-home? How is personal information (who decides good or bad) talked with sisters/brothers used by the mosque and shared with who? Jzk.

    This country of mine needs Islam-Muslims in all spheres of life to protect the oppressors, i.e. British English/White/Other with the truth of Islam = light in the darkness for all creation.

    بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

    تَبَـٰرَكَ ٱلَّذِى بِيَدِهِ ٱلۡمُلۡكُ وَهُوَ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدِيرٌ
    Blessed is He in Whose hand is the Sovereignty, and, He is Able to do all things. (Quran; Surah Mulk, 1)

    قُلۡ هُوَ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنُ ءَامَنَّا بِهِۦ وَعَلَيۡهِ تَوَكَّلۡنَا‌ۖ فَسَتَعۡلَمُونَ مَنۡ هُوَ فِى ضَلَـٰلٍ۬ مُّبِينٍ۬
    Say: He is the Beneficent. In Him we believe and in Him we put our trust. And ye will soon know who it is that is in error manifest. (Quran; Surah Mulk, 29)

  8. Hello, I was in the middle of writing when computer crashed. Can you please send me what I wrote back, have you received my comment – it was a draft and hence do not publish pls as I was only putting down in paper my beginning of thoughts.

    Jzk

  9. Nusrat Shaikh.

    Excellent piece. Many many Muslims feel this way.
    You’ve written s very articulate article that really defines our situation presently : damned if we do and damned if we don’t

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