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Islamophobia fuelling terrorist attacks

29th Mar 2019
Islamophobia fuelling terrorist attacks

(Artwork Pat Campbell/The Canberra Times)

Muslims have warned about the rising tide of Islamophobia for many years but neither the Labour nor the Conservative governments have been interested in doing anything about it. The response is just the opposite. Many politicians, sections of the media and increasingly, online actors, have been fanning the flames of Islamophobia. In the UK, the ruling Conservative Party has even been in denial about the scale of Islamophobia within its own ranks (see page 11). Others have insidiously played semantic games by pretending to claim the term Islamophobia is a misnomer.

The online manifesto of the right-wing terrorist in Christchurch refers to his ‘dislike’ of Muslims and his particular hatred for converts to Islam while referring to the killings as ‘revenge.’ He talks of a ‘white genocide’ and describes Muslim immigrants as the ‘most despised group of invaders in the West.’

The whole tirade is vicious, vile and hate-filled. If mainstream politicians and press are not already soul-searching, they should be, given his hate aligns with much of their own Islamophobic rhetoric whether consciously or not.

As if to prove the point, much of the narrative has been to label the terrorist massacre as simply mosque shootings in New Zealand.

For whatever reason and certainly everyone needs to know why Britain’s state corporation the BBC declined to call the cold-blooded killings “terrorism.” Despite New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, having no such compunction as she immediately describes the blood bath as an act of terrorism.

If there were criticisms of some of the way members of the Government reacted to the terrorist atrocity, Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, failed not only to condemn the massacre but forgot to make any mention that the victims were Muslims and were praying in a mosque at the time.

While Opposition Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn, went to the nearest mosque in his constituency to pay his condolences as well as join in a demonstration against global Islamophobia. Scotland’s First Minister and leader of the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, visited Glasgow Central Mosque to pay condolences; similar gestures of solidarity were not made by Prime Minister, Theresa May, and it took Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, three days to visit London’s Central Mosque.

Despite the writing being on the wall following the tragic killing of Muslims, nowhere was it clearer than outside Muslim Welfare House in Finsbury Park 20 months ago. The warning signs were largely ignored and certainly not acted upon. As a consequence, there followed a huge rise in the number of those referred for Channel support from the right wing. Yet nothing is really being done to crack down on Islamophobia. Muslims still endure abuse on a daily basis with over 100 mosques being attacked alone in the UK in the past few years largely due to the hatred against Muslims being tacitly accepted.

The war on terrorism cannot be a war against Muslims as it has seemingly developed. Outlawed far-right groups have been recently revamped and allowed to disguise their racism behind the mantle of Islamophobia with virtual impunity. The British Government needs to stop dithering over the definition as an excuse to not act against the hatred that has manifested towards Muslims within the media and its own ranks.

By creating an atmosphere of hatred in the public domain, the far-right are increasingly using hatred against Muslims as a justification for their attacks. This can be seen in the hateful manifesto of Brenton Tarrant, The Great Replacement.

The UK can learn much from New Zealand and the leadership of Prime Minister Ardern. Following the horrifying killings, Parliament in Christchurch opened with a recital from the Qur’an. The Prime Minister started with the Islamic peace greeting ‘Assalamu ‘Alaykum.’ The Muslim victims “were New Zealanders, they were us. Because they were us, we mourn them,” she said. “We cannot allow this to happen again” and Ardern vowed never to mention the name of the suspect terrorist again.

It is time for other leaders to follow her example not to give him even the notoriety he sought and also admit that they had let down the Muslim community.

May accused of ‘burying head in sand’ over Islamophobia

Children among 50 Muslims slaughtered in a far-right terror attack

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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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