Racist Mugs: Rising Anti-Muslim Hatred is the Tip of a Neoconservative Iceberg


It goes without saying that I have been experiencing some manifestation of anti-Muslim hatred on a weekly basis for some years now.  I often return it with a smile, or a peace sign, or, in the rare case where I am not in a particularly good mood, a retort like “how many GCSE’s did you pass again?” By the Grace of Allah, I have yet to experience a violent version of this simmering hatred.

Recently, witnessing comments made by two ladies against two women donned in niqabs brought to sharp attention the internationalisation of the alienation of Islam and Muslims.  Seeing the veiled women who were tending to their little ones, the faces of two passing ladies crumpled into a frown and the skin colour took on a bruising red as they, clutching their prams, uttered the now ubiquitous slogan heard by Muslims of all stripes: “you do not belong in this country”, before scurrying off into a tram.  They had German accents.

Of course, there have been far worse attacks and indeed such hatred has substantially increased. Reports of mosques being intimidated with suspicious packages containing white powder and decorated with racist remarks, Muslims being beaten with a crowbar, and halal butchers firebombed, have been circulated in the last month alone. However, this incident was unique in that it occurred at an airport – a hub for different peoples to intermix and depart to their destinations.

Ties with Neocon Hate Network

Aside from the overt racist outbursts around immigration, the normalisation of this xenophobia has in no part been fuelled relentlessly by a decade of neoconservative counter-extremism discourse, which has racialized Islam and Muslims in order for this minority to be outcast from unascertainable “mainstream” society. The aggressive street racism and/or anti-Muslim hatred is but an expression of a wider neoconservative hate movement.

As a recent expose reveals, David Cameron had been consulting the bigoted, Islam-hating, fraudulent neoconservative Ayaan Hirsi Ali on Britain’s own counter-extremism strategy. She believes “we are at war with Islam”, where the “crushing” of Islam is not only ideological, but eventually to be done militarily.

Since last year, and with a helping hand from another government “advisor”, Maajid Nawaz, she has attempted to obfuscate this hatred of Islam by turning into a reformist deformist. However, her “reform” suggestions have been tantamount to effectively leaving the Islamic faith.

Hirsi has been praised by Robert Spencer and Pamella Geller, both of whom have been banned by the Home Office for their spouting of hatred.

In an updated version of Celsius 7/7, Gove describes Hirsi Ali as, “the brave Netherlands parliamentarian who has done so much to alert her fellow Dutch citizens to the dangers of Islamism”.

Cameron’s speech writer Ameet Gill, who conducted the correspondence between Cameron and Hirsi, “previously worked as a researcher for the historian Niall Ferguson” who recommended Gill for his eventual job under Cameron. The neocon Ferguson is Ali’s husband.

Racist Mugs

Michael Gove’s Celsius 7/7 has been influential in setting the tone and direction of the counter-extremism political project.  His hatred of Islam deceptively weaved into his book, subtly manifested through the clash of civilisations rhetoric and the discourse of security, became bluntly apparent recently.

Demonstrating all his notorious hallmarks (his US neocon bent and anti-Islam and Muslims hatred) he admitted to possessing a mug which had the following words imprinted:

“Jihad?! I’ll give you jihad you miserable, rag-headed, heathen b*****s!”

An article in an Australian spread suggests that these precise terms were used as slogans for stickers and t-shirts and sold on American websites for racist redneck consumption as far back as 2007 – a year after Gove had his book published.

Gove has denounced the mug and claims he has thrown it away, after having received it as a gift.

Of course this raises further questions: was is it sent at the time of his writing of the book? Who sent it? When was it thrown away? And indeed, why would the sender deem the mug suitable as a gift for the little mind which houses the vile ideas of neoconservatism?

Indeed, Gove has rendered this grotesque expression in slightly more intellectual terms. Thus the long-established traditional Islamic concept of Jihad is chopped up and subsumed into the “Islamist belief system”,[1] which is compared to fascism of the Nazis. Embodying the backward civilisation represented in the “raghead” remark, Gove writes,

“The economic growth that accompanied the rise of Protestantism and, in due course, the openness, experimentation, individualism, and empiricism that the Enlightenment brought, all gave to Europe a political, monetary and military strength that overawed the Islamic world…”

“Islamic nations were crippled, relative to the West, by their institutional inability to adapt politically.”[2]

Nothing of course was mentioned of the deceptive colonial, capitalist incursions in wealthy India which had no reason to entertain Western ideas and concepts, for instance.  For Gove it was Islam itself,[3] which hindered “progress” and not Western imperial designs accompanied by economic rape of Muslim land, people and resources.

It should be noted that this denigration provides the basis for him to justify, in the name of “moral clarity” his neo-colonial, warmongering stances later on in the book:

“The ability to pass a moral judgment… to uphold the values of a particular culture as more worthy of emulation,  to declare without shame that what one knows is better than what others would wish to impose, is increasingly rare in the contemporary West.”[4]

The racism displayed on the mug is not misplaced or an aberration.  It is central to the supremacist, bloodthirsty worldview of the neocons.

Concluding Remarks

Speaking to friends and family, the overwhelming feeling is one of nervousness coupled with a genuine fear of assault or battery of those regarded as vulnerable: women, children and the elderly. Rather than fighting the wave of anti-Muslim hatred in a manner similar to tackling anti-Semitism, our government has been ingratiating itself with the architects of this hate, ignoring the rise of the far-right, and blaming Muslims for social ills thereby reinforcing anti-Muslim stereotypes.

How long will it be before the Rubicon is cross, violence claims more victims, and the situation spirals out of control?


[1] Gove, M., Celsius 7/7, Weidenfeld & Nicolson: London, 2006, p.93

[2] Ibid. p.16

[3] Ibid. p.17

[4] Ibid. p.79

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