You are here:   Features > Enough is enough of terror — but also of our self-doubt
 
For well over a decade now, we have been told that Britain has developed an irrational hatred of Islam to the point of being “institutionalised”. It’s true that after Islamist terror attacks, there are completely unacceptable spikes in anti-Islam related incidents, like the recent oxymoronically named “UK Against Hate” march in Manchester organised by ex EDL leader Tommy Robinson where a pig’s head was provocatively eaten. Some protestors shouted “Our streets” and “You’re not English anymore.”

But it’s also true that Pakistani and Bangladeshi youngsters now have entrance rates to Russell Group universities as high as the white British, despite the former’s (generally) poorer and culturally separate backgrounds. Statistics quoted by some Islamist organisations about the scale of Islamophobia seem alarmist and there is a real danger from playing politics with the fears of ordinary Muslims. Britain is an open society, and if we blindly accept such claims without rigorous scrutiny the bleak vista they promote could become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If young Muslims keep being told their own country hates them, they will become even more inward-looking, they won’t apply for jobs and Britain will become even more divided than it already is.

As London Mayor, Boris Johnson was right to round on the Salafi-Islamist lobby group Cage for “crying Islamophobia” instead of directing their “wrath . . . on people who go out to join groups that throw gays off cliffs, that behead people who don’t subscribe to their version of Islam, that glorify in the execution of innocent journalists and aid workers”.

But no. While organisations like Cage have condemned the recent terror attacks, they’ve kept their collective spotlight trained tightly on Islamophobia because it is such powerful ammunition for their priority target: discrediting the government’s counter-radicalisation programme, Prevent, as a state spying operation against Muslims.

Prevent is aimed at stopping those who are vulnerable to radicalisation from being drawn into terrorism. Ever since it was introduced more than a decade ago, a broad swath of Islamist organisations have campaigned to get Prevent and every other single piece of terrorist legislation scrapped. What kind of message does that send?

The public sector is now under a statutory duty to “have due regard to the need to prevent people from being drawn into terrorism”. This has led to some Muslim schoolchildren being referred to special local authority panels for assessment as to whether they are at risk of being radicalised. If so, they are offered counselling with Home Office-appointed mentors under another programme called Channel. Some mentors have themselves been extremists.

The 2015 Act has been a gift to the anti-Prevent alliance. Before it was passed, Prevent was given the standard “racist-Islamophobic” treatment. Now that the public sector has a legal duty to be alert for signs of radicalisation (for which staff get training), it has become a “state snooping campaign” against Muslims. So there is a political purpose to the relentless focus of these Salafi-Islamist organisations on Islamophobia. It gives credence to their main charge against Prevent — that institutionalised Islamophobia has led to a state-sponsored spying programme, inspired by “Zionists” and “neo-cons”.

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Harry H
September 25th, 2017
4:09 PM
No Muslims in the West, no Muslim terrorism. Pretty simple, even a liberal can understand, right?

amcdonald
July 30th, 2017
4:07 PM
Islam is a bent version of the Bible. The Koran promotes a bent version of Christ. And yet no Christians challenge and correct the bent Islamic picture of Christ. Tories and Labourites can`t `speak truth to power` on this. Richard Dawkins is right but not so precise. It couldn`t be easier for all muslims,christians and atheists to watch artist Akiane Kramarik`s short filn ` Painting the Impossible ` (YouTube). It`s a work of art in itself not only about one. You want an alternative narrative and interfaith dialogue ? Well let`s see this film in churches ,mosques, synagogues,temples and Tate Mpderns. The BBC is just too thick to show and discuss it. Nor would it show artist Stella Vine`s `Evangeline` pictures. The cultural provincialism of our religious,political and cultural leaders is not shared by the people. Which is one reason 17 million voted for Brexit.Freedom Day.

amcdonald
July 15th, 2017
5:07 PM
British Values ? £10 per hour minimum wage? Grants not loans for students? All those others listed in the Labour Manifesto ? Tory values are symbolised by the atrocity exhibition that is now Grenfell Towers.

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