It is now three years since the 7 July terrorist attacks on London that killed 52 people along with the four bombers. Those three years have witnessed a systematic ratcheting up of prejudice and hate propaganda against Muslims.
A new report by researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Journalism shows that recent years have seen a series of stories that paint Muslims as terrorists and extremists, or claim that Islam is incompatible with “Western values”. Only 5 percent of stories involving Muslims focus on the problems faced by the community.
It is no surprise that this media assault has been accompanied by an increase in physical attacks on Muslims in Britain. These attacks typically go unreported by newspapers that are only too happy to devote endless space to elaborate descriptions of terrorist plots based on little more than a spook’s imagination.
Meanwhile crazy “clash of civilisations” rants that were previously confined to the fringes of the right are now considered respectable middle class opinion. The novelist Martin Amis fantasises about “strip-searching people who look like they’re from the Middle East or from Pakistan”, while the Sun’s Trevor Kavanagh states that “Muslim men are entitled to beat their wives... such barbaric treatment of women has been imported and thrives here.”
The real “barbarism” going on here is one that is perfectly compatible with “Western values”. The current campaign against Muslims is all but identical to that waged against Jews in the first half of the 20th century. That antisemitism opened the door to the Holocaust. And today’s Islamophobia is potentially no less deadly.