The “punish a Muslim” campaign is only the tip of the icebergby Miqdaad Versi / March 30, 2018 / Leave a comment
Anti-Muslim hate has now been normalised.
When I speak of the pervasiveness of anti-Muslim hatred, I am not referring to the most powerful country in the world, where President Trump said “I think Islam hates us,” re-tweeted anti-Muslim propaganda videos and appointed a National Security Advisor who wrote the foreword to a book written by people banned from the UK for their extremism.
Nor am I referring to mainland Europe, where the German Interior Minister feels able to declare that ‘Islam does not belong’ in the country, or where almost 40 per cent of the French population voted for the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, and where a sign saying “pray for an Islamic holocaust” was proudly displayed in a demonstration in Poland.
I am referring to our country here in the UK.
According to surveys, half our nation thinks Islam is a threat to Western liberal democracy, a third thinks that Islam promotes acts of violence in the UK and 31 per cent of young children believe Muslims are taking over England.
#PunishAMuslimDay hate mail has been sent across the country in recent weeks, including to Muslim MPs, and we continue to see the vile bigotry on social media faced by the most famous Muslim public figures such as the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Bake-Off Winner Nadiya Hussain.
Such attitudes are reflected by our leaders. Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, former Co-Chair of the Conservative Party, said that “there was a simmering underbelly of Islamophobia” in the ruling party, where bigotry against Muslims is tolerated. Examples include the re-selection of Zac Goldsmith as an MP despite his Islamophobic campaign for mayor; David Davies’ victim-blaming when he claimed that the Islamic tradition requiring women to wear face and head coverings was “an excuse for sexual violence against women”; or, most recently, Bob Blackman re-tweeting an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, hosted an anti-Muslim bigot in Parliament and shared an appalling story from an Islamophobic website on Facebook.
Where is this prejudice coming from?
Bigots will rely to the ‘no smoke without fire’ proverb to blame Islamophobia on the tiny fraction of terrorists whose acts are condemned by Muslims themselves. Yet, polls tell us that the majority of people find out about Islam and Muslims from the…