Anti-Muslim prejudice is real, and it’s scary

Something dangerous is brewing beneath the surface in our country, and it worries me that warning lights are not flashing in the minds of many of those I respect most. After the discrediting of anti-Semitism, after the discrediting of discrimination against black people, after the discrediting of prejudice towards the Irish, I hadn’t expected to live to see a powerful generalised antipathy against any race or religion gather popular force here without stirring at least the more liberal of my fellow citizens into resistance. I expected a sense of alarm. There is none.

Last Saturday my Times colleague Janice Turner used her weekly column to sound a note of anxiety about what she called a new shrillness in attitudes towards British Muslims, and a ‘lumping together’ of all Muslims as though all were extremists. Indeed, she said, we are starting to do the extremists’ work for them. She concluded: ‘In our poisonous, polarising age, it is time to stop seeking difference and ask how we are the same.’

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Mr Parris, I don’t think you have the slightest clue about this subject. Perhaps you should look at what is happening to secularists/not-very-conformist Muslims in Muslim countries and in the UK.

You also don’t seem to grasp that since the 7th century Jihadis have used fictional or exaggerated grievances, resentment, and insults as excuses for attacking and eradicating their opponents–and that includes those in their own societies who want to liberate themselves of ‘Holy Law.’

You don’t seem to understand the meaning of the words you are using. Presumably when you say you are not ‘anti-Islamist’ you really mean you are not against anything Islamic as such. ‘Islamist’ means people who are trying to impose Islam as a total and exclusive political, social, cultural, and even economic system based on Sharia and the Hadiths. Is that what you’re not against, Matthew?

I agree that the ignorant phobic outbursts of many posts after articles like this are unhelpful and deplorable, not least since they could drive some Muslim readers towards extremism and because they ignore the existence of secularised Muslims whom we should be welcoming and encouraging. But you really should uphold some sort of standard of secular freedom and tolerance and regard it as universal.

Presumably you have seen the pictures of gays being thrown off rooftops in Syria and Iraq and then shot (or hanged from cranes in Iran)–or Douglas Murray’s pictures of churches being desecrated in Mosul. Or the bulldozing of Nineveh and Nimrod. You should be trying to explain to young Muslims in the UK why these things represent a catastrophic route, why humanity and humane values are the right ones.

As it is, by writing this opinionated, rambling, muddled, and poorly informed stuff, you are simply giving the fanatics useful ammunition to use agains the world you live in and depend on. [The Spectator] Read more

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