Fiyaz Mughal and Tell MAMA: Purveyors of Structural Islamophobia

FiyazMughalTellMAMAFaithMatters

There is an entire industry built on the back of Muslim demonisation.  This “counter-extremism” industry utilises the rhetoric of preventing terrorism, but perpetuates structural terrorism against the Muslim minority through policies and rhetoric which have the cumulative effect of producing a “suspect community”. This reinforces Islamophobic stereotypes that Muslims are inherently, potentially violent unless “civilised” (assimilated) into “British values” as defined for everyone by neocons.  Whether victims or criminals, it is their culture and religion which is to blame. It is a demonising narrative that has recently subsumed into its toxic discourse the attacks Muslims are currently enduring.

Muslims have been experiencing an increased intensity of anti-Muslim hate over the years and through various rhetorical and physical transformations, from the Paki-bashing by skin-heads, BNP, EDL and now Britain First and National Action, to the elderly man/woman walking across the road whilst angrily pointing a finger at a veil mumbling – like Sayeeda Warsi – that it has no place here. In recent days, it has been reported that hate crime targeting masaajid more than doubled in the last year.

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Charlie Hebdo, Selective Free Speech and Muslim Minority Discrimination

Anti-Muslim Backlash has Begun

As the world now knows, three masked men stormed Charlie Lebdo offices killing 12 employees including four cartoon artists a few days ago. As I write this, they are still at large leaving a trail of damage.

As is the norm now, Muslim organisations have come out condemning the action.  Nevertheless the discourse rapidly focussed on two key areas, which are typically only discussed in the Muslim context.

Free Speech and Propaganda

Reading statements from politicians and emotionally-charged papers defending “free speech”, the fact that free speech is not absolute, is continually ignored.  The right to life is an absolute non-derogable right.  Thus balancing the two rights in the human rights discourse would mean giving way to one when the two are in jeopardy.  This is not something new. Balancing competing rights happens every day in the Strasbourg Court of Human Rights. Under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights restrictions may be imposed on freedom of expression “for the respect of the reputations and rights of others”, and protection of national security, public order, health and morals.[1]

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