ISIC UK issues briefing on reports “British Muslims and Islamophobia” PCP Report.


A new report, “Islamophobia: Issues, Challenges and Action”, was published in May 2004 by the Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia. This report accuses British public bodies of “institutionalised Islamophobia”, argui

It states that Islamophobia is growing fast in Britain and has pervaded every part of British society. It uses alarmist language, raising the spectre of violence unless its conclusions are taken seriously: "Time-bombs are being primed. Both Muslim and non-Muslim commentators have pointed out that a young generation of Muslims is developing that feels increasingly disaffected, alien and bitter. It’s in the interests of non-Muslims as well as Muslims that Islamophobia be rigorously challenged, reduced and dispelled. The time to act is now, not some time in the future." The new report further states that: "Racism is not in the minds of black people, nor is Islamophobia in the minds of Muslims, nor anti-Semitism in the minds of Jews. Racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are in the minds of white people, non-Muslims and non-Jews, and in the institutions, organisations and cultures that they mould and lead." Dr Richard Stone, chair of the commission and an advisor to Sir William Macpherson’s enquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, stated that: "Islamophobia in Britain has become institutionalised. If we don’t take positive action to embrace the young Muslim men in this country, we are going to have an urgent problem. We’re going to have real anger and riots with young Muslims pitched against the police." ANALYSIS The truth is that the feelings of dissatisfaction and alienation growing among the Muslim population are to a large degree the product of the current leadership of the Muslim community constantly raising expectations that are impossible to fulfil. They have prioritised the Muslim identity of British Muslims and linked it to the welfare of all Muslims worldwide, regardless of the real causes of widely disparate conflicts and crises. They have decoupled the British Muslim community from being part of the national consensus, seeking the common good of the whole British nation. They have disparaged all things traditionally British and western as ninherently imperialist, racist and anti-Islamic. This has created a situation in which British Muslims blame the British authorities for all evils. While expecting the government to solve local problems of disadvantage and inequality, they simultaneously place an impossible burden on the government to solve all problems allegedly facing Muslims everywhere. At the same time they ignore real threats to British security and national interests. The report links the three disparate phenomena of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia implying they are the same problem, having the same causes and needing the same solution. It levels a blanket accusation against the whole of the British white community (over 90% Christian according to the 2001 census) for harbouring and propagating these sentiments. Such inflammatory language can only exacerbate the problem. It ignores the fact that Britain has given shelter to many Muslims, black people and Jews who evidently\ prefer its reasonably tolerant and fair society to the evils of their own homelands, many of which are majority-Muslim states. It ignores all the positive developments in British attitudes to race and to religious minorities over recent decades. It ignores the great advances made by Muslims in Britain in all fields. It ignores the radical voices within the British Muslim community. It absolves the Muslims in Britain from making any effort at adapting to the majority culture and from balancing rights with obligations to Britain and its society and institutions. It ignores the fact that it is mainly Muslims who are attacking British and western targets around the world in the name of Islam, and that prior to 11 September 2001 these attacks were widely legitimised by Muslim leaders in the West as “liberation struggles”. Such language will encourage future violence and rioting in Britain as it a priori gives it blanket legitimisation. This report is a potential tool for blackmailing the government and public bodies into granting the leadership of the Muslim community in Britain all their demands whether reasonable or not by linking guilt and blame manipulation with threats of potential violence. This will further strengthen the position of Muslim elites, many of Islamist persuasion, who have appointed themselves as representatives of all Muslims in Britain. CONCLUSION The only way to deal with these very complex issues is by changing the rules of the game. Religion must be excluded from the political arena. Britain must commit itself to a more secular worldview, in which all individual citizens have equal rights and obligations as British citizens, regardless of religion. While religious freedom is guaranteed, religious communities (and those presuming to speak in their name) should be excluded from the political field. Their beliefs should be given free access in the market place of ideas, but no religious lobbying of political institutions should be allowed, no public funding given to religious causes, nor should any religious group be given special protection or immunity.

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