The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 16.03.2019

The Christchurch Shooting and the Normalization of Anti-Muslim Terrorism

The real forces responsible for the destruction of many Muslim-majority countries and the current chaos present in many Western countries are not generated by civilian populations or religions but instead by the global oligarchy that engineers and profits from this chaos.

Whitney WEBB

What is without question the worst mass shooting in New Zealand’s history took place on Friday when shooters, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant among them, opened fire at two Christchurch mosques. Four, including Tarrant, have been arrested for the heinous act, which claimed at least 49 innocent lives. Tarrant was responsible for killing more than 40 victims, among them several children, in a rampage he live-streamed on Facebook, sending chills throughout the Muslim community, particularly Muslims living in Western countries.

Tarrant’s motives and ideology, laid bare in a 74-page manifesto, show a concern over the fertility rates of non-white groups as well as the immigration of non-whites to countries like New Zealand and Australia, which he likened to an “invasion” that threatened the white majority in those countries. However, Tarrant — in his ignorance — failed to grasp that many of the Muslim immigrants he targeted had come to New Zealand after fleeing Western-backed invasions, occupations, or persecution in their home countries.

Notable among Tarrant’s views is the fact that he is a clear ethno-nationalist, promoting his view that different ethnic groups must be kept “separate, unique, undiluted in [sic] unrestrained in cultural or ethnic expression and autonomy.” Tarrant also claimed that he doesn’t necessarily hate Muslims and only targeted those Muslims {i.e., immigrants) that chose “to invade our lands, live on our soil and replace our people.”

He also stated that he chose to target Muslims because “Islamic nations, in particular, have high birth rates, regardless of race or ethnicity” and to satiate “a want for revenge against Islam for the 1,300 years of war and devastation that it has brought upon the people of the West and other peoples of the world.” His views are remarkably similar to those of Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik, which is unsurprising given that Tarrant named him as an inspiration for the shooting.

Though many — in the hours after the shooting — have sought to place blame and point fingers at notable demagogues like President Donald Trump or “counter-jihad” alt-right figures like Laura Loomer and Jacob Wohl, it is important to place Tarrant’s motivations in context.

Indeed, while Trump’s rise to political power has brought Islamophobic rhetoric into the public sphere in an undeniable way, it is a symptom of a much broader effort aimed at propagandizing the people of the United States and other Western countries to support wars in and military occupations of Muslim-majority countries. This manufactured Islamophobia, largely a product of Western governments and a compliant mass media, has sought to vilify all Muslims by maligning the religion itself as terrorism, in order to justify the plunder of their countries and deflect attention from their suffering.

It is a classic “divide and conquer” scam aimed at keeping Westerners divided from Muslims in their own countries and abroad. The horrific shooting in Christchurch is a testament to its unfortunate success and pervasiveness, as well as a potent reminder that it must be stopped. Indeed, this manufactured Islamophobia has made it so that Muslims in their home countries are in danger of dying from Western-backed wars and, if they flee to the “safer” West, they have targets on their backs painted by the very war propaganda used to justify Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority nations.

Islam, the media and “Forever Wars”: Who’s the “real” terrorist?

Since September 11th and the advent of the “War on Terror,” mass media reporting increasingly began to conflate Muslims and Muslim-majority nations with war, terrorism and violence in general. Indeed, 9 out of 10 mainstream news reports on Muslims, Islam, and Islamic organizations are related to violence and Muslims who are named on mainstream media are all-too-frequently warlords or terrorist leaders.

This near-constant association of Islam and violence has created the false perception that the religion of Islam, by its very nature, is violent and that Muslims too must then be violent and thus dangerous. This media-driven association has had very real and troubling consequences. For instance, a 2010 study by the University of Exeter found “empirical evidence to demonstrate that assailants of Muslims are invariably motivated by a negative view of Muslims they have acquired from either mainstream or extremist nationalist reports or commentaries in the media.” In other words, Islamophobic media reports are directly related to hate crimes targeting Muslims.

This is no accident, as such biased reporting on Muslim-majority nations also began as Western-backed wars in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan sought to put these countries’ natural resources, namely their oil and mineral wealth, into the hands of American corporations. It should be no surprise then that top funders of media outlets that have routinely promoted Islamophobic narratives are also those who have profited considerably from the “War on Terror” and Western-backed regime-change wars in other countries.

This concerted effort to vilify Muslims has had the potent effect, likely by design, of reducing empathy among Westerners for the largely Muslim victims of Western military adventurism in Muslim-majority countries. Indeed, while mainstream news outlets often trumpet the imminent dangers Americans face from “radical Islamic terror,” the death toll of innocent people — most of them Muslim — that have been killed by the U.S.-led “War on Terror” is several orders of magnitude greater than the number of Americans who have died from all terror attacks over that same period.

For instance, from 2001 to 2013, an estimated 3,380 Americans died from domestic and foreign terrorism, including the September 11 attacks as well as acts of domestic terrorism carried out by white nationalists and supremacists. If one excludes the September 11 death toll, the number of American deaths over that same period stands at around 400, most of them victims of mass-killers who were not Muslim.

By comparison, an estimated 8 million innocent people in Muslim-majority nations died as a result of U.S. policies and wars in the Middle East and North Africa from 2001 to 2015. Yet, the magnitude of this loss of life of these “unworthy victims” is minimized by media and government silence, and the creation of a climate of Islamophobia in the West has only served to deepen the ease with which mass murder is accepted by the aggressor countries’ populations.

Beyond the staggering disparity in the death tolls caused by terror groups and Western-backed imperialist wars is the fact that many of these very Western governments that purport to be so concerned with “radical Islamic terror” have often created and funded the most notorious terror groups of all. Indeed, the U.S. government helped to create Al Qaeda and continues to protectits Syrian branch — Hayat Tahrir al-Sham — in Syria’s Idlib province to this day. In addition, the CIA was just recently revealed to be helping the Islamic State regroup in Syrian refugee camps. Furthermore, the U.S. has long turned a blind eye to the funding of terror groups by allied states like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The role of Western money, arms and policy in the creation and maintenance of radical Wahhabi terrorist groups is often entirely ignored by Western media portrayals of Muslim-majority nations, thereby creating a false image that such violence is endemic to these nations when, in fact, it is often imported state-sponsored terror.

These nuances of the situation are rarely heard in the narratives parroted out on mainstream media and those who regularly consume mainstream news sources are more likely than not to support those narratives. For that reason, it is easy to see how someone like Donald Trump — who is said to watch television for eight hours every day, much of it Fox News — has espoused the views that he has. Thanks to the manufacturing of Islamophobia of mainstream media, racist policies like the so-called “Muslim ban” have found wide support, as this false narrative has conflated Islam with violence so often that many have come to believe that only by banning Islam can violence and terrorism in the U.S. be reduced.

However, the recent shooting in Christchurch, as well as the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting and other recent acts of domestic terrorism, should alert us to the fact that it is the hate manufactured by this false narrative that is itself endangering American lives while also covering up the mass murder that has been perpetrated by the U.S. and other governments around the world for decades.

Israel’s leading role in stoking ethnonationalism

While the realities of post-9/11 America, as well as the rise in visibility of white ethnonationalism during the Trump Era, have done much to normalize attacks on immigrants, the country that has done the most to normalize anti-Muslim terrorism over this same time frame has been the state of Israel.

Israel, from its founding days, has long been steeped in neocolonialist ideology that is remarkably similar to the ideological basis behind other settler states like the United States, Australia and New Zealand. This system of beliefs holds that the native inhabitants of the land — whether the Palestinians, the Sioux or the Maori — are “primitive” and incompetent and that the land would have remained “wild” and undeveloped were it not for the “fortunate” appearance of European settlers. As MintPressnoted in a previous report on the subject, such narratives cast these settlers as both superior and normal while the natives become inferior and abnormal, thus obfuscating the settler’s status as foreigner and conqueror.

In Israel’s case, this ideology has promoted the idea that all Arabs are “sons of the desert” while the desert simultaneously represents a barbaric obstacle to “progress” and development. However, the state of Israel, under the lengthy tenure of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has seen these long-standing and somewhat hidden underpinnings of the Zionist state burst out into the open.

The result has been the overt expression of ethnonationalism in such a way that Israel has become an inspiration to white nationalists in the United States, like Richard Spencer, and far-right ethno-fascist leaders like Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and India’s Narendra Modi. The inspiration has been mutual, according to reports and testimonials published by Jewish newspaper The Forward.

For years, through its military occupation of Palestine, Israel’s government and military have sought to paint all Palestinians, including children, as “terrorists” or “terrorist sympathizers.” Take, for example, current Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who wrote in 2014, “This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people …”

A more recent example came from former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who asserted just last year that “no innocent people” live in the Gaza Strip and that every inhabitant in the enclave is somehow connected to Hamas, even though nearly half of Gaza’s population are children and teenagers. Such rhetoric has become par for the course and numerous examples show that Shaked and Lieberman’s views are increasingly accepted and “normal” in today’s Israel.

Yet, the clearest indication of anti-Muslim terror’s normalization in Israel is the recent rise of Otzma Yehudit, or the “Jewish Power” Party. This party, founded by devotees of radical American-born Rabbi Meir Kahane, has now merged — at Netanyahu’s urging — with the Jewish Home Party and stands to become part of Israel’s ruling coalition if Netanyahu manages to win in the country’s upcoming elections.

In the office of Itamar Ben Gvir, one of Otzma Yehudit’s leaders, is a framed picture of Baruch Goldstein. In an act that bears a striking similarity to the events in Christchurch, Goldstein — a long-time devotee of Kahane — entered a mosque in the West Bank city of Hebron in 1994 and opened fire, killing 29 and injuring more than 125 worshippers. After the act, Kahane’s Kach party — the predecessor of Otzma Yehudit — was labeled a terrorist organization by the United States and Israel.

Despite official condemnation, Goldstein’s atrocious act has been the subject of praise and inspiration for subsequent extremists who, under Netanyahu’s government, have become increasingly normalized. Goldstein’s gravestone reads “He gave his life for the people of Israel, its Torah and land” and continues to be used as a site of pilgrimage and homage by the very extremists that Netanyahu is openly courting for political gain.

While the followers of Kahane are making a comeback in Israel, several notable Arab political parties have been banned from participating Israel’s upcoming elections, with some being accused of “supporting terrorism” owing to their opposition to Israel’s decades-long military occupation of Palestine. Yet, by elevating clear terror supporters among the ranks of the Jewish Power Party, it has become increasingly clear that openly supporting and advocating anti-Muslim terrorism is no bar to legitimacy and political power in today’s Israel.

No ‘clash of civilizations,’ only manipulation and exploitation of differences

The tragic and barbaric shooting in Christchurch, New Zealand is yet another horrific and glaring reminder that the “divide and conquer” war propaganda that has sought to promote the so-called “clash of civilizations” between Christianity and Islam, West and East, has not only been monstrously effective but continues to be monstrously destructive to people on both sides.

However, the media’s manufacture of Islamophobia, in seeking to Wite-out Muslim suffering and reduce Western empathy for innocent Muslim civilians, has increasingly placed targets on the back of Muslims everywhere — in the West and the East — making it increasingly difficult for practitioners of the Islamic faith to feel safe regardless of where they live.

With most Muslim-majority countries now killing fields in Western-backed wars, ruled by oppressive, Western-backed dictatorships, or under threat of Western-backed regime change, even those Muslims who have sought a safer, quieter life in the “civilized” West have now found themselves targets thanks to the very war propaganda used to justify the destruction of their home countries.

While the murderer Tarrant had stated that he hoped his horrific crime would help stoke “civil war” in Western countries, this tragedy should and must serve as a wake up call for people everywhere that the real forces responsible for the destruction of many Muslim-majority countries and the current chaos present in many Western countries are not generated by civilian populations or religions but instead by the global oligarchy that engineers and profits from this chaos. These oligarchs loot from the people of the West just as they do from the people of the East and it is time to recognize that they are the real threats to a more peaceful world — not regular people praying, whether it be in a church, a synagogue or a mosque.

mintpressnews.com

White Nationalism Not Problem! Trump Says after NZ Attack

By Staff, Agencies

US President Donald Trump played down any threat posed by racist white nationalism on Friday after the terrorist accused of the New Zealand mosque massacre called the president “a symbol of renewed white identity.”

Trump, whose own previous responses to the movement have drawn scrutiny, expressed sympathy for the victims who died at “places of worship turned into scenes of evil killing.”

But he declined to join expressions of mounting concern about white nationalism, saying “I don’t, really” when asked whether he thought it was a rising threat around the world.

“I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess,” Trump said.

“If you look at what happened in New Zealand, perhaps that’s the case. I don’t know enough about it yet. But it’s certainly a terrible thing.”

Questioned about the accused suspect’s reference to him, Trump professed ignorance.

“I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it,” he said. “But I think it’s a horrible event … a horrible, disgraceful thing and a horrible act.”

The man accused of the shootings left behind a lengthy document that outlined his motivations.

He proudly stated that he was a 28-year-old Australian white nationalist who hates immigrants and was set off by attacks in Europe that were ‘perpetrated by Muslims.’ In a single reference, he mentioned the US president.

New Zealand mosque attacks: Politicians and media have blood on their hands

By Siema Iqbal

ICH

March 15, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  We woke to news of at least 49 Muslims murdered in New Zealand by far-right fanatics.

We watched – or consciously avoided watching – in horror the live-streamed footage of Muslims being gunned down while praying. How depraved has society become when social media is used to lionise massacres?

I had to tell my children about the attack. I told them not to watch the videos or to be afraid of being who they are: Muslims.

Spreading hatred

Today, the media and politicians like American president Donald Trump and former British foreign secretary Boris Johnson, have condemned the attacks. The same media and the same politicians have helped spread hatred against Muslims and Islam. They have blood on their hands.

This terrible mass murder was committed on the other side of the world supposedly in the name of “Europe”. There are lessons for us here in Britain, just as there are across the world.

This hatred is institutional. We knew Islamophobia was endemic in the Conservative party, but we turned a blind eye. Not anymore.

Siema Iqbal@siemaiqbal

This senator is Australian.

He has blood on his hands .

Call out the bigotry and hold people responsible.

Enough is enough.

Do not dare say that Islamophobia does not exist. The media and politicians must be held to account.

If we allow fanatics to turn up outside mosques with their banners of hate, and give airtime and social media platforms to the likes of Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, this is what happens.

If we continue to allow “think-tanks” to provide ammunition to parliamentarians and far-right leaders under the guise of “credible reports”, this is what happens.

Worldwide bigotry

This type of hatred is not confined to any country, but is widespread across the world.

Muslims are imprisoned in China; there are attacks on Muslims by Hindu nationalists in India; Rohingya Muslims are being ethnically cleansed in Myanmar. All of this is done in the name of tackling “extremism”, while ignoring the bigotry all around us.

Politicians might speak of their concern for the victims and families, but on a daily basis, many people are targeted by the far-right, as politicians have enabled a destructive discourse.

It’s time to admit that the UK’s Prevent strategy is not working. The “war on terror” has only fuelled hatred of Muslims in the general population, and distrust of the state among Muslim communities.

In 2013, the UK nearly suffered a similar attack against multiple mosques. Mosque security should be a major priority going forward.

Standing strong

Although Facebook was quick to remove a graphic video of the Christchurch attack, why was no action taken in response to previous posts threatening violence against Muslims?

How many more innocent people have to die before governments take a long, hard look at their role in creating this mess?

While many far-right extremists are celebrating the New Zealand attack, as a Muslim, I can promise you this: The more you attack us, the stronger and more united Muslims will become.

Today, the mosques will be packed – more than ever before – as prayers are offered for those killed. Muslims will never be afraid of bowing down to Allah, and nothing will stop us from doing so.

Siema Iqbal is a mother, a doctor and a British Muslim opinion writer based in Manchester. She is currently a partner and trainer at a North Manchester GP practice. She enjoys writing and can often be found public speaking and raising money and awareness for charities both in the UK and abroad.

This article was originally published by MEE” –

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New Zealand’s Massacre: PM Vows Gun Reforms after Mosque Attack

By Staff

New Zealand’s prime minister vowed to toughen the country’s gun laws after revealing Saturday that the man accused of murdering 49 people in two mosques legally purchased the arsenal of firearms used in the massacre.

Jacinda Ardern said the gunman, 28-year-old Australian Brenton Tarrant, obtained a “Category A” gun license in November 2017 and began purchasing the five weapons used in Friday’s attacks in the southern city of Christchurch the following month.

The firearms included two semi-automatic rifles, two shotguns and a lever-action weapon, she said, speaking to reporters in Wellington before heading to Christchurch.

“The mere fact… that this individual had acquired a gun license and acquired weapons of that range, then obviously I think people will be seeking change, and I’m committing to that,” she said.

“While work is being done as to the chain of events that led to both the holding of this gun license, and the possession of these weapons, I can tell you one thing right now — our gun laws will change.”

She confirmed that the gunman and two suspected associates who were also arrested had not been on the radar of any intelligence agencies, even though he had published a manifesto online indicating plans for attacks on Muslims.

“They were not on any watch lists either here or in Australia,” she said, pointing out that “the individual charged with murder had not come to the attention of the intelligence community, nor the police, for extremism.

In parallel, Arden confirmed that she has asked “the agencies this morning to work swiftly on assessing whether there was any activity on social media or otherwise, that should have triggered a response. That work is already underway.”

“Given global indicators around far-right extremism, our intelligence community has been stepping up their investigations in this area.”

New Zealand tightened its gun laws to restrict access to semi-automatic rifles in 1992, two years after a mentally ill man shot dead 13 people in the southern town of Aramoana.

But firearms laws are lax compared to neighboring Australia, which enacted a strict gun control regime in the wake of a similar massacre in 1996, and most other developed nations outside of the United States.

Anyone over 16 can apply for a New Zealand firearms license, valid for 10 years after completing a safety course and a police background check.

Most guns do not require registration under New Zealand’s Arms Act and police do not know “how many legally or illegally owned firearms there are in New Zealand”, according to a police statement last year.

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More Power to You Miss Omar

More Power to You Miss Omar

EDITOR’S CHOICE | 10.03.2019

More Power to You Miss Omar

Eric S. MARGOLIS

“Tell me who you cannot criticize and I will tell you who is your master”. (Attributed to Voltaire).

Saying anything negative about Israel has long been the third rail of US politics and media. Israel is our nation’s most sacred cow. Any questioning of its behavior brings furious charges of anti-Semitism and professional oblivion.

I keep in my bookcase a cautionary book, ‘They Dared Speak Out’ written by US senators and congressmen who all lost their positions after rebuking Israel for its mistreatment of Palestinians or daring to suggest that Israel had far too much influence in the US.

Journalists learn this first commandment very early. Criticize, or even question, Israel at your own peril. Until recently, we journalists were not even allowed to write there was an ‘Israel lobby.’ It was widely considered Washington’s most powerful lobby group but, until lately, mentioning its name was seriously verboten.

Now, young Democratic stars Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a feisty congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, have suddenly broken the taboo and said what dared not be said: there is too much rightwing Israeli influence and there must be justice for Palestine.

Presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have come to the defense of Ilhan Omar against the usual charges that she is anti-Semitic. So have black groups and smaller liberal Jewish groups. The Democratic Party, that once received half its financial support from Jewish sources, . Its old guard is retreating and does not know what to do beyond issuing fiery denunciations of the heretical Miss Omar. The Democrat Party split comes just at a time when it is trying to bring down President Donald Trump.

Many people seem unaware that Islam is now America’s third largest religion and may soon surpass the number of Jews. In Canada, Muslims are already the second religion.

Ilhan is not anti-Semitic. I grew up in New York and New England where vicious anti-Semitism abounded. I know real anti-Semitism when I see it. But she is quite right in charging that vast amounts of pro-Israel money have bought Congress and the media.

Sheldon Adelson, the pro-Israel casino tycoon, has given well over $100 million to the Republican Party and its leaders. This money comes from legal gambling, a sickness that preys on addicts and the unfortunate.

In the 1700’s, Dr. Samuel Johnson well defined lotteries and gambling as ‘a tax on fools.’ Such is the source of Adelson’s billions and his influence over the US political process. He is also the primary financier of Israel’s prime minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, who now faces serious charges of corruption.

Interestingly, Britain faces a similar political storm. Its left-leaning Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, has called for justice for the Palestinians and a viable state for them. Britain’s pro-Israel groups and media have launched furious counterattacks on Corbyn and his allies, barraging them with false accusations of being anti-Semitic. This is utter nonsense. To find real anti-Semitism in Britain you need look into the recesses of the Conservative Party. I’ve seen its ugly face.

Israel’s brutal repression of Palestinians has sparked bitter anti-Israel sentiments across Europe. Not so much in America, where media leans far over to Israel’s side and evangelical Christians have been bamboozled into believing that a Greater Israel is somehow necessary for the Second Coming.

But young Americans, and even more so Europeans, are increasingly hearing the call of justice for Palestine. They want no truck with Israel’s right-wingers, whom many leftist Israelis, including the late great writer, Uri Avnery, brand ‘fascists.’

The prescient and courageous Pat Buchanan said it years ago: the US Congress was ‘Israeli occupied territory.’ His political career was ruined.

So was my mother’s career. She was one of the first American female journalists to cover the Mideast in the early 1950’s. After extensively reporting the unknown fact that there were nearly one million Palestinian refugees driven from the new state of Israel, she was silenced by advertisers pulling ads from the papers she wrote for and, finally, threats to throw acid in my face. Her career was ruined.

So I say to Miss Omar and the other brave ladies, full speed ahead. Damn the torpedoes. Do what is good for the world and your country. Break the hold of big money over our republic.

ericmargolis.com

Islamophobia Is the Dominant Form of Racism: Why Is No One Talking About It?

Islamophobia Is the Dominant Form of Racism: Why Is No One Talking About It?

Written by Chris Nineham

Attacks on Islam and muslims are the central organising principles of far-right movements across Europe argues Chris Nineham

NoToIslamophobia

“Really confronting Islamophobia, challenging the logic of the Prevent programme for example, or explaining the causes of terrorism, requires challenging the logic of the wars and foreign interventions so dear to the British establishment. There are too few in public life who are prepared to do that.”


It shouldn’t really need to be pointed out given the evidence, but it does. Islamophobia is the dominant form of racism in British society and across much of Europe.

According to a recent survey, 25% of people in England believe that Islam is a dangerous religion that incites violence. According to the same research a shocking 52% believe that Islam poses a serious threat to Western civilisation.
Attacks on Islam and Muslims are the central organising principles of far-right movements across Europe. For Tommy Robinson for instance, Islam is the main enemy. His key mobilising issues are terrorism, grooming and the threat of sharia law. When he claims to be defending freedom of speech it is against a fantasy political correctness that he believes blocks discussion of these issues.
But the far-right are not the source of Islamophobia. They are feeding off the mainstream. Islamophobia is deeply embedded in the main political parties, central to media discourse and to the functioning of the key bodies of the state.
The Muslim Council of Britain have repeatedly pointed to the growing number of Islamophobic posts or comments by representatives of the Tory party – there were for example nine in just two months of last year. Despite this and the fact that 66% of Tory voters see Islam as a threat, the Tory leadership has consistently refused to launch the enquiry into Islamophobia that the MCB demands.
There is a problem in the Labour Party too – 22% of Labour voters also believe Islam is a danger to our lifestyle. Islamophobia is a far more prominent problem in British politics than anti-semitism, although this too is growing in society. Studies of the media show almost daily stereotyping and demonisation of Muslims and statistics of stop and search, arrest and imprisonment reveal systematic anti-Muslim attitudes in the police and the courts.
The so-called Prevent strategy attempts to mobilise workers in all sorts of other state institutions in an initiative that often assumes that Muslims are a danger to society. Meanwhile data shows that discrimination against Muslims extends across the economy. Muslims are half as likely as the rest of society to have permanent jobs for example.
So why is there no national debate about this scandalous situation? The first problem is denial. It’s not just that the issue is ignored, there are regular debates in the media as to whether Islamophobia actually exists. Worse still, Islamophobic attitudes are often dressed up as liberal critiques of aspects of some Muslim’s lifestyles or what is often, absurdly, regarded as a uniquely reactionary religion. Such attitudes adopted by liberals and sometimes by people who regard themselves as progressives only give confidence to the right. So when Boris Johnson made his disgraceful comments about women in Burqas looking like letterboxes he felt confident to justify them in terms of opposing women’s oppression, ‘if you say that it is weird and bullying to expect women to cover their faces, then I totally agree’.
Racist attitudes are second nature to the British ruling class of course, and various forms of racism against people of Asian or African descent have a long and horrible history which continue to this day. But Islamophobia’s ability to present as cultural critique means that it is a racism that it is peculiarly convenient at a time when ‘biological’ racism is largely regarded as unacceptable.
It is a form of racism that can pretend not to be one. But this isn’t the only cause of the denial. Islamophobia is deeply structured into British society because it has played a central role in attempting to create the conditions in which the British elites can fight unpopular foreign wars, particularly in central Asia and the Middle East. A series of studies have mapped the rise of Islamophobia to geopolitics and Western foreign policy priorities, including the shock of the Iranian revolution, the US retreat from the Lebanon in 1984, and in a different way the end of Cold War.
Islamophobia went mainstream after the start of the War on Terror in 2001 when the US, Britain and its other allies turned towards massive military intervention against Afghanistan and then Iraq. The damage and bitterness caused by these invasions has predictably unleashed an intensifying cycle of violence that threatens to sustain racism against the people who we have murderously attacked in the first place. Really confronting Islamophobia, challenging the logic of the Prevent programme for example, or explaining the causes of terrorism, requires challenging the logic of the wars and foreign interventions so dear to the British establishment. There are too few in public life who are prepared to do that.
Islamophobia can be overcome. Social attitudes are very contradictory. Despite some popular prejudice, the vast majority want to see more measures to improve relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, including for example better access to language teaching. Overwhelming numbers of people oppose the foreign wars that successive governments have dragged us into and the fact that we have a leader the Labour Party who is anti-war, a principled and public anti-racist and takes Islamophobia very seriously is important in itself and a sign of widespread anti-racist attitudes in Britain.
One of the most inspirational and significant moments in recent British politics was during the 2017 election campaign when Jeremy Corbyn responded to the dreadful terrorist attacks in Manchester with a press conference in which he argued that the main cause of  terrorism was our foreign policy. To the shock of the Tories and the right wing in Labour the next day opinion polls showed that 75% of the population agreed with him. This was a moment when it became clear how the Islamophobic narrative can be unravelled.
To do so will require concerted action. We have to insist on the cultural, economic and institutional importance of Islamophobia. We have to make the fight against Islamophobia as central to our movement as it is to the thought and actions of the establishment and the far right. But as well as calling it out and confronting it we have to tackle its causes. Muslims will not feel really safe and at home in Britain until we stop bombing and intervening in Muslim countries and start developing a foreign policy based peace and respect

 

While China’s Xianjing Remains Stable, it is in India Where Muslims Are Being Systematically Attacked — Astute News

From a diverse history to a sectarian crisis The modern borders of India do not precisely correspond to those of any one of the many sovereign entities that arose in south Asia over the millennia. Instead, today’s India in terms of its political geography was shaped by the modern Partition of British India which began […]

via While China’s Xianjing Remains Stable, it is in India Where Muslims Are Being Systematically Attacked — Astute News

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