As a result of the Woolwich murder there has been an immense backlash of Islamophobic attacks against Muslims and mosques. Dilly Hussain argues that there is a clear element of hypocrisy and double standards that is emerging over how the term “terrorism” is applied by the British government and Muslim “apologists.”
The number of Islamophobic attacks since the Woolwich murder is recorded at 162, confirmed by the Director of Faith Matters, Fiyaz Mughal. Yesterday night a mosque in Grimsby was petrol bombed in front of police officers. Two white males were charged with arson and 11 teenagers arrested in connection with the crime.
On the evening of the Woolwich murder, mosques in Gillingham, Kent and Braintree, Essex were attacked. Scores of Muslim women have fallen victim to this anti-Muslim mood rampant across the country, having their hijabs and niqaabs pulled off them. Ironically, there has been no condemnation by Whitehall politicians in reference to these attacks or by mainstream Christian organizations. There have been no national press conferences held by the Church of England, human rights associations or law enforcements agencies to condemn these attacks.
The term “terrorism” is defined in the Oxford dictionary as: “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aim”. So were all these Islamophobic attacks not committed to make a political change or a political statement? That all Muslims are somehow responsible for what happened in Woolwich and the religion of Islam has no place in “tolerant, liberal and democratic” Britain? No, rather these have been regarded as racial, arson and hate crimes.
If the answer to the above insinuation is that the right-wing Islamophobes are a minority who do not represent the white British masses, then surely Michael Adebolajo’s actions don’t represent the Muslim masses. If the answer to that is “the grievances may be the same” then it would be correct to assume that Islamophobic hatred is also an unspoken “common grievance” among white Englishmen.
The Woolwich attackers were not members of Al Muhajiroun just like all the attacks that have taken place since were not done by the EDL. The perpetrators of both crimes may have been similar in ideology to the two groups and shared “common grievances” but it would be wrong to say all acts of terrorism in Britain were committed by Al Muhajiroun and all Islamophobic attacks were done by the EDL.
Since the Woolwich incident, there has been plethora of Islamic groups and personalities coming out to apologize and condemn the actions of Michael Adebolajo. Some have gone even further by saying he is not a Muslim and somehow making the divine decision that “he won’t even smell paradise” (Ajmal Masroor).
We have had prayers on Muslim TV stations and on the websites of many Islamic organizations for British soldier, drummer and machinist Lee Rigby. In fact, from what I have seen, there have been more condemnations, apologies and prayers for Lee Rigby in a week, than there has been for the thousands that have died in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria.
I’m no religious scholar but the disproportionate behaviour of organizations that are supposed to represent Muslims has been disappointing to say the least. The Director of Ebrahim College Shams Ad-Duha Muhammad said to Anjem Choudary on Newsnight: “Your Islam is all about politics. There are other ways to address these matters” in reference to foreign policy. Not that I agree with Anjem Choudary and his methods of protesting against British foreign policy, but how does Mr Muhammad suggest we address a political matter in a non-political way?
The Secretary General of the MCB, Farooq Murad said in a press conference that the best way to deal with foreign policy grievances are via “robust discussion, integration, civic participation, and political engagement”, which he stated is the only “Islamic” way to effect change.
A question I would pose to Mr Murad is what has Muslim participation in the democratic system, electing Muslim MPs, integration and compromising elements of Islam achieved? It’s achieved more Islamophobia, further demonization of Islam in the media, Muslim MPs who vote in support of un-Islamic legislation, and increased interventionism in the Muslim world. So how many apologies and condemnations will it take for Muslims to be accepted by Britain?
I believe this is the old colonial mechanism of “divide and rule”, but unlike the old days when it was done through brute force and financial bribery, it’s now enforced in a psychological and covert way. To create an atmosphere of fear, being “the other” and the “with us or with them” approach is the new domestic strategy. Muslim organizations and personalities with an ultra apologist approach to the Woolwich murder and who disregard the core issue of British foreign policy will be welcomed and no doubt rewarded either financially, or with status and media platforms by the establishment.
David Cameron and Theresa May are now talking about clamping down on extremist preachers, websites and social media as part of their new “Extremism Task Force” which is destined to fail because of its refusal to address foreign policy. The real victims of terror will sadly be Muslim women, children and mosques.
You can follow Dilly Hussain on Twitter @DillyHussain88