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A nation and Islam

A nation and Islam

It’s five years since bombs rocked London’s transport system. Preoccupied by two wars, has the British government overlooked a poisonous tide of anti-Muslim sentiment developing at home?

July 7, 2010 4:26 by

An online poll by the IHRC reveals that 80.4 percent of voters currently believe Islamophobia is on the rise, but instead of addressing the escalating discontent within British Muslim communities, the government invokes stringent anti-terror laws; presumably to alleviate the threat of future attacks. Yet surely alienating local Muslim communities is not the most sensible way to confront terrorism? And isn’t it hard for British law enforcers to hold their heads high while they stop-and-search a Muslim based on appearance alone, when the laws that enable them to do so compromise the very freedoms the government claims it is fighting to defend?

And when you compare foreign and domestic policies there is hypocrisy underlying the government’s approach to terrorism. They justify overseas wars with grandiose statements about defending cherished traditions of tolerance and civil liberty, while at home they revoke the same freedoms on the grounds that it is necessary in order to uphold state security.

Members of Parliament are not the only ones at fault; a recent report by the newly formed European Muslim Research Centre has added to the growing chorus of voices blaming sections of the media for the continuing rise of Islamophobia in the UK.

Based on interviews with witnesses to and victims of hate crimes, as well as police officers and former members of organizations like the British National Party, the report, entitled Islamophobia and Anti-Muslim Hate Crime: a London Case Study, cites “Islamophobic, negative, and unwarranted portrayals of Muslim London as Londonistan and Muslim Londoners as terrorists, sympathizers, and subversives in sections of the media” as the apparent “motivation for a significant number of anti-Muslim hate crimes.”

The authors of the report, Dr. Jonathan Githens-Mazer and former special branch detective Dr. Robert Lambert, endeavor to illustrate the link between what is published in the media and anti-Muslim views. The report claims “the main perpetrators of low-level anti-Muslim hate crimes are… individuals from a wide range of backgrounds who feel licensed to abuse, assault, and intimidate Muslims in terms that mirror elements of mainstream media and political comment that became commonplace during the last decade.”

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