“New major Islamophobic attacks demand a response from the anti-war movement, the left and anti-racists,” says John Rees. The author’s name doesn’t appear to be Muslim, but considering the way he carries on and whines, he might just as well be. A convert, perhaps?
StopWar UK A major, often government inspired, series of attacks on Muslims within a few weeks should put us all on alert. Let’s list them:
- 31 March: the BBC’s Panorama attacks the Muslim Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman.
- 1 April: David Cameron announces a major MI5 driven inquiry into whether the Muslim Brotherhood in the UK should be banned as a ‘terrorist organization’.
- 15 April: after a letter claiming that one Birmingham school is being influenced by ‘Islamicist’ ideas, Michael Gove sets up a full scale inquiry led by Peter Clarke, the former head of counter-terrorism at Scotland Yard.
- 20 April: William Shawcross, the hard right, neo-con head of the Charities Commission launches an investigation of Islamic subversion of charity organizations.
- 23 April: Tony Blair makes a widely reported speech demanding more international action against ‘Islamism’.
- 24 April: Guardian headlines ‘Stop your sons joining Syria war, urges Met’, part of an ongoing campaign that has seen former Guantanamo prisoner Moazzam Begg charged with terrorism offenses.
You can read the details refuting (all of which seem to have come straight out of the CAIR playbook or whatever the equivalent of CAIR is in the UK) these charges HERE
Rees concludes: In all but one of these cases, the attack by the BBC on Lutfur Rahman, these initiatives are driven from the heart of the state machine and are intimately connected with the ideology of the war on terror.
Firstly, Islamophobia remains very closely related to the war on terror and the ideologies developed to justify it. It is state and establishment-driven to an unusual degree. Some on the left who are critical of the Stop the War Coalition’s argument have tried to move this debate elsewhere, claiming that Islamophobia predates the war on terror and is driven by the far right.
Now, while it is true that some elements of Islamophobia existed before the war on terror, around the Rushdie affair for instance, there can be no doubt that these were qualitatively transformed from a minor thread in racist ideology to a dominant discourse by the war on terror. Before 9/11, racists used color or country of origin as the dominant element in their account of what was wrong with ‘the other’. After 9/11, it was the Muslim religion and the connection with terrorism that has been the hugely dominant element. And to a far greater extent than previous waves of racism and chauvinism this has been continually and systematically driven right from the heart of the state machine.
Secondly, we now need to redouble our efforts to counter this new wave of Islamophobia. It can be done. Many Muslims in this country know exactly what the problem is and who causes it. The Stop the War movement has forged lasting ties with this community. It has correctly identified the cause of Islamophobia and integrated campaigning against it into the wider campaign to eradicate the war on terror from which it arose. It is time to renew that resistance.