A committee against Islamophobia

“Anti-Muslim prejudice is finding expression in more hate crimes. We need to tackle the problem at a nationwide level ”

Analysis of readers comments on the above Guardian Cif post by Inayat Bunglawala 27 August 2009 – See full post here

Guardian Cif readers don’t think much of Mr Bunglawala’s proposal. Nearly 70% of commenters are against it and they received over 90% of Cif readers’ votes.

Sample chart

This is based on the first 75 of a total of 283 comments. The table below gives more details.

Readers Comments Votes for Comments
Number % Number %
Strongly For 9 12.0 120 2.3
For 7 9.3 142 2.7
Neutral 8 10.7 202 3.9
Against 18 24.0 1029 19.9
Strongly Against 33 44.0 3672 71.1
Totals 75 100.0 5165 100.0

What people had to say is represented by the following extracts from a few of the most popular comments.

“At a time when anti-Muslim bigotry has become pervasive ”

Oh, really? I hadn’t noticed this pervasiveness. The actions of a few lunatic elements does not a national attitude make. Or is Inayat going to tell me that every Muslim in the country shares the attitudes of the lunatic Islamist fringe groups?

The extremists need people like you, Inayat, to talk up into a major problem a very few isolated and criminal incidents, which can and will be dealt with under law.

As a muslim I can say that what Inyat is saying is nonsense. Yes there is racial discrimination, but the idea that there are hoards of people all looking to get rid of muslims is hogwash. Inyat, I suggest you stop trying to create a major problem, where is obviously does not exist

Whilst I would agree that the police should do everything in their powers to prevent such bigotry and arrest those responsible, I don’t see what adding yet another quango or committee would really achieve.

…. Would it really help to subdivide all the different moronic ways that people commit hate crimes? My gut feeling would be to save the money and bureaucracy of such an exercise and put it straight into an increased policing budget.

Arson is already illegal. So is abduction at knife-point, and bricks through the window. Our existing laws already cover all “hate crime” incidents. What Inayat wants is a new law that will make attacks on Muslims diffferent from attacks on anyone else. We don’t need this divisive legislation.

A significant reason for negative public opinion on the subject of Islam is the exceptional and preferential treatment which people such as Bunglawala demand. And here he is, courtesy (as usual) of the Guardian, demanding some more.

I don’t honestly believe that anti-Muslim sentiment is ‘pervasive’ in any sense. Can the author provide any evidence for this claim? Calling for a national taskforce to combat the stupidity and ignorance of these criminals would be self-defeating and a waste of taxpayer money.

I hope the thugs who attacked Mr. Ramjanally are apprehended and sent to prison for a long time. ….

…. However I object to the term “Islamophobia”.

Islam is a belief system. Like all belief systems including but not restricted to agnosticism, atheism, Christianity, Fascism, Hinduism, Judaism, Marxism, Nazism, Rosicrucianism, Zionism and Zoroastrianism, Islam is a legitimate target for critique, analysis, satire and scorn.

Nice try, Inayat — but no thanks. We already have robust anti-discrimination legslation that treats hate crime as such, and we certainly don’t need any more publicly-expensed committees.

….There are racist attacks on Roma people – do we have a separate commission for that? Poles and Bulgarians have been subjected to racist attacks – do they get a commission? Another commission for attacks on homosexuals? Another one for women?

Every person deserves protection from racism and bigotry, and any person that commits hate crimes should be subject to the full rigour of the law. The machinery to effect that already exists.

I condemn any attack of this sort by the far right groups but is the best solution yet another committee? I guess you will want this funded out of public funds?

What about a committee looking at the following in the Muslim community Woman’s rights, homophobia, anti-semitism and extremism.

Maybe we should also have a committee that investigates and prosecutes organisations and websites that openly condemn gay people, descriminate against them and perpetuates gay steriotypes…

Now who can think of an organisation that does that????

…. just stop the lazy and inappropriate use of the word Islamophobia.

The word was invented, probably deliberately, because it carries the connotations of being irrational, stupid and stemming from ignorance.

At the same time it fills a void because Islam is not a race, and opposition to Muslims/Islam, cannot be accurately described as Racism, no matter what some CIF commentators might think.

The fact is that being opposed to/disliking Islam can be an ethical, moral, rational standpoint. It is frequently a viewpoint that is informed by knowledge and understanding, and not the irrational prejudice that people like IB like to pretend.

The fact that I despise Islam does NOT mean that I wish violence on any Muslim. Muslims have as much right to practise their religion as anyone else. Anyone who assaults a Muslim on the ground of his religion deserves a long, a very long, prison sentence.

I’d agree with others that we don’t need more legislation to deal with crimes like the one Inayat cites – the law should be flexible enough to deal harshly with someone who punches an old lady in the face regardless of whether she is wearing a wimple, a hijab or a kiss-me-quick hat.

…. I was impressed by this bit:

“In 2005 a parliamentary committee against antisemitism was established to “confront and defeat antisemitism in this country and beyond”.”

Have they found Harry Potter’s wand then?

This article is another in the long list of Inayat and his special pleading to make Muslims a special case with special laws, just for them.

Or we could just prosecute people who attack Muslims, Jews or witches and ignore whatever pathetic excuses they produce from the multitude of self-penned “holy” books that are available these days to the semi-literate lunatic.

The truth is that the political establishment has washed its hands of the consequences of multiculturalism and mass immigration from the subcontinent. Indeed, the bigwigs even thought people like Bunglawala to manange the integration process and promote British values!

My biggest problem with the idea of a special commission …. is that it reinforces the impression that the police are incapable of providing the protection of the law to a particular minority’s interests in a fair way.

It’s an ever-decreasing circle of loss of confidence in the powers of the authority that is supposed to apply to us all, and defend us all, equally.

Every time Inayat or one of his fellow travellers raises the issue of special treatment or a commission for this or a commission for that they reinforce to their own group this sense that they are being failed by the state (more so than the rest of us).

How can this not breed a “if the gov’t/police won’t look out for us we’ll do it ourselves” mentality in that community with all the insularism and out-group antagonism that engenders?

The criminal law as it stands is enough to deal with these crimes. As stated by others we don’t need another committee to record these crimes. Cops have enough paperwork to fill out already and they’d far rather get on with catching the perptrators.

You are trying to create and then exploit divisions in society by pleading special cases and thriving on extremist reaction. You are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.

One thing you still have to learn my friend is that just because people disagree with you that does not show anti-Muslim prejudice.

Frankly, based on the articles you write on CiF one sometimes thinks you would find Islamophobia in a banana if it served your purpose to do so. Grow up and grow a thicker skin, same as everyone else.

I disagree Mr Bunglawala.

I believe Britain is one of the most Islam-friendly non-Muslim nations in the world as well as one of the least racist. I’m also amazed Britain remains both these things especially after the Islamist attacks on London, Glasgow and various other attempts

You’re NOT special Inayat, and neither is your poxy religion. Muslims ARE welcome in this country and continue to be welcome. Stop telling us that we hate Muslims. As a country we certainly don’t, I don’t, nobody I know “hates Muslims”. Muslims, on the whole seem very nice.

Next time the Guardian offers you a fat wad of notes for writing this scurrilous excuse for public discourse, why not say “nah, I think people might just about have had a skinful of my fluffed-up nonsense”.

…. if Europe and Britain was really so hate filled why would so many be desperate to come here?

I know a fair number of Asians that are British through and through. No accent, no funny diets or clothes, like pop music and a drink or two on a Friday night both males and females. They are well liked and integrated – a fair number are married to or are dating indigenous folks.

If the writer is complaining about hate crimes against Muslims, maybe he should take a look at all the hate crimes being perpetuated in the name of Islam, in Muslim countries.

For a taste of real discrimination, see the savage treatment of Christians in Pakistan. Britain is a paradise for Muslims, and the fact that Bunglawala has a vested interest in making it seem otherwise makes me sick. Why do we bother with this man?

Inayat’s argument is flawed from the start because of his glib adherence to the ‘Islamophobia’ convention. The term is meaningless since the real phobias are all forms of irrational anxiety arising through psycho-pathological processes.

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