The destructive forces of prejudice

30th Nov 2018

Prejudices exist in a wide variety of forms that affect the everyday lives of millions and millions of people in adverse ways across the globe.

They shape what the targets of prejudice think about the world and life in general. Negative opinions are formed beforehand and in advance of any knowledge, thought or reason.

Like any natural defence mechanism, prejudgment is meant to protect but in cases of prejudice, it is counterproductive. Often based on irrational feelings of feelings of powerlessness, anger, anxiety and alienation, it becomes a return beyond tribalism.

Used to an extreme, like denial, displacement and dissociation, it rather endangers and works against actual survival.

As if attracted to their own and perceiving others not only as different but in a truly destructive way. History relates societies that breed prejudice are oppressive, including dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, who harboured a feeling of selective supremacy.

They capitalised on inspiring fear and prejudice in their citizens to further their despotic power. Such trends can sadly be seen developing even in progressive nations, like Britain.

Last year, religious hate crime in England and Wales soared by a worrying 40 per cent with recorded offences hitting a record high and more than half committed against Muslims, according to official figures.

A new poll commissioned jointly by Hope Not Hate and British Future poll found most people in Britain agree that Islamophobia is a real problem in the country.

It shows the normalisation of prejudices against Muslims with no less than 38 per cent of Britons confirming that they would be concerned if a family member married a Muslim and 22 per cent being concerned if a Muslim family moved next door.

Almost half of the British people seem to accept that prejudice against Islam makes it difficult to be a Muslim in the UK.

More than one third said that the marginalisation of Islam in British public life is increasing in the media, with nearly half feeling there is more negative discrimination against Muslims than people of other faiths.

Of those polled in the survey, 47 per cent believed Britain was becoming less tolerant of Muslims, while 48 per cent believed there was more negative discrimination against Muslims than people of other faiths. 31 per cent believe that Islam promotes terrorism and 43 per cent that western liberal society can never be compatible with Islam.

Blame can be fairly laid on the rise of right-wing extremism. Poignantly three in five British adults, or 61 per cent, agreed that far-right political activists such as the English Defence League are to blame for Islamophobia in the UK.

Some 55 per cent pointed their finger at parties like UKIP, more than half at the media. The poll also showed that people harbour gross misconception such as the Qur’an justifies violence against non-Muslims, with 24 per cent agreeing with the fallacy, including 30 per cent of male respondents compared with 19 per cent of females.

Prejudice held by individuals unnaturally forces itself onto targets of their prejudice, giving them a false social status that strongly influences who they are, what they think, and even the actions they take.

Prejudice plays a role in shaping what the targets of prejudice think about the world and life in general, about the people around them, and how they feel about themselves. Importantly, prejudice greatly influences what people expect from the future and how they feel about their chances for self-improvement, and their life chances. All of these considerations define their very identity as individuals.

Last year, the National Centre for Social Research reported that one in four people polled admitted they are prejudiced to some degree against people of other races. Some of this relates to pigmentation, but for many, race appears to be a proxy aversion to people of a different religion and culture, that is Muslims. The impact is not difficult to find, with prejudice against Muslims in the criminal justice system, in education, in employment.

The impact is riddled through society at the bottom, in the middle and at the top.

As with hate crime, prejudice is becoming worse rather than being resolved. It is an issue too often brushed under the carpet and left to fester. But how can such a blight on society be ignored when there is such institutional prejudice in many British institutions.

How can the Government be seen to be doing anything to tackle prejudice against Muslims when the Conservative Party refuses to even hold an independent inquiry into the extent of Islamophobia within its ranks and rejects having any relationship with the Muslim Council of Britain, the mainstream umbrella organisation.

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Over 120 people attended a landmark conference on the media reporting of Islam and Muslims. It was held jointly by The Muslim News and Society of Editors in London on September 15.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence 2015 was held on March in London to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to the society.

The Muslim News Awards for Excellence event is to acknowledge British Muslim and non-Muslim contributions to society. Over 850 people from diverse background, Muslim and non-Muslim, attended the gala dinner.

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