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 Olivia Cuthbert
In the report’s foreword, journalist Peter Osborne claims that in the current environment, hate-crimes against Muslims are inevitable. He says, “The constant assault on Muslims from certain politicians, and above all the mainstream media, has created an atmosphere where hate crimes… are bound to occur and are even encouraged by mainstream society.”
More alarming still is the mounting evidence suggesting that racism against Muslims is more accepted than intolerance towards other ethnic minorities in the UK. A University of Exeter study warns that “anti-Muslim hate crimes have not been afforded the same priority attention [that] government and police have invested in racist hate crimes.”
And in a “Dispatches” documentary for Channel 4 in 2008 called It Shouldn’t Happen to a Muslim, Osborne found that the press could make discriminatory comments about Muslims that were not tolerated when applied to other groups. When he replaced the word “Muslim” in some recent newspaper headlines with “Jews,” “Blacks,” or “Gays” and showed them to members of the public, they found the comments deeply offensive.
Muslims are the biggest Black and Minority Ethnic community and the second largest faith group in the UK, but despite this they are the least represented in both public and private sectors. Many British Muslims feel they are treated as lesser citizens by a country that roots its values in freedom and equality.
In an article published by The Independent newspaper in 2009, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown listed a number of recent affronts against Muslims by the British establishment, claiming “again, Muslims are made to understand that different standards apply to others.” Describing herself as “Muslim-lite” and reminding readers that she is “often critical of Muslim people and nations,” she writes that “this week even I, even I can see that for the British establishment Muslims are contemptible creatures, devalued human beings.”