Monday, July 07, 2008


I spotted the Independent's headline the other day: Muslims feel like 'Jews of Europe'. Well, apart from anything else, aren't the Jews of Europe still the Jews of Europe? I do actually have some sympathy for the underlying basis to the claim - that Muslims are becoming effective scapegoats for those who are unhappy with immigration, and that inflammatory language is often used. The problem is, well, lets have a look at this paragraph:
Mr Malik, who narrowly escaped serious injury when a car was driven at him at a petrol station in his home town of Burnley in 2002, said he regularly receives anti-Muslim hate mail at his constituency office in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, which has the highest BNP vote in the country and was home to Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the suicide attackers who killed 52 people in London in 2005.
You see, it's harder to raise sympathy for inflammatory language when, on the other side of the equation, there are inflammatory people. The terrorist bombings in 2005, coupled with the relatively large number of Muslims that express support for them, make a certain suspicion of Islam inevitable. Twin this with the infuriating stories about police dogs with bootees, Muslim taxi drivers that won't take blind people (dogs again) or Muslim nurses that refuse to bare their arms to scrub up and you start to form a settled narrative - that of a minority that is unwilling to adapt to life in Britain. Once that narrative has settled, it is going to be largely a case of giving a dog a bad name. Or is that offensive too?

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