Socialist Worker

Racism, not Islam, is the problem

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2232

The man who apparently blew himself up planting a bomb in Stockholm, Taimour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly, lived in Luton.

That has been enough to trigger a wave of propaganda painting Luton as a hotbed of Islamic extremism.

The tabloid press gives the impression that a Muslim only has to pass through Luton in order to be driven into the arms of Al Qaida.

The Daily Telegraph says Luton, “is famous only for radical Islam and those who oppose it”.

The town’s reputation comes down to a government intelligence report leaked to the Sunday Telegraph in 2008.

It states, “The main extremist concentrations are in London, Birmingham, with significant extremist networks in the South East, notably Luton.”

Muslims in Luton are told that the town’s image is their fault because they don’t make a stand against extremism.

Apparently excluding the likes of Al-Abdaly from the mosque, as the local Islamic Centre did, is not enough.

The centre’s chair, Abdul Qadeer Baksh, told the BBC, “We felt very uncomfortable, but we could not categorise him as a terrorist.”

He added. “we couldn’t categorise him as somebody who was harmful because initially when we looked at what he was saying it could just have been his political views, so we had to challenge his political views and hope to bring him back to the right path.”

Baksh is now being told he should have reported Al-Abdaly to the security forces.

A Sun editorial notes that, “Luton has its share of Islamic hotheads and anti-war demonstrators.”

To them demonstrating against the war is much the same as being an Islamic terrorist.

To the establishment the problem is not imperialism or the rage of its victims, but Islamic extremism.

So the only solution is greater policing of Muslims. The behaviour of Britain and the US become irrelevant.

Date

Al-Abdaly grew up in Sweden. The Daily Express reports that there was “a shift in his personality after he left Sweden in 2001 at the age of 19 to study sports therapy in Luton”.

It doesn’t seem to occur to them that the date—2001 when the US invaded Afghanistan—might be more important than moving to Luton.

And every week there are more war atrocities committed by the US and Britain.

Last week Nato special forces in Afghanistan killed seven civilians employed working on a building site in the south eastern province of Paktia.

As is now standard, Nato insisted that all the dead were “insurgents”.

Day after day reports come in of Nato victories against insurgents and the death of Taliban leaders.

However, since every fatality is claimed as an insurgent until proved otherwise, these are hardly reliable figures.

But even record numbers of civilian casualties have increased by 30 percent in 2010.

And the “war on terror” has deepened the relentless drumbeat of Islamophobia pumped out by the press and politicians.

Headlines that scream about “Muslim terrorists” are inevitably followed by demands that “moderate Muslims” must root out the extremists in their midst.

No one ever suggests that all white Christians should be held responsible for the actions of the fascist British National Party.

And the real problems that face Muslims in Britain today—poverty and racism—are rarely, if ever, touched on.

The latest frenzy of Islamophobia is a gift to the English Defence League (EDL) which is planning to protest in Luton on 5 February.

Islamaphobia is the real posion in our society—and its pushers are those at the top.

Socialists and anti-racists have a vital responsility to challenge the Islamophobes whenever they raise their heads—and to stand alongside the Muslim population of Luton when the EDL visit on 5 February.


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Tue 14 Dec 2010, 17:30 GMT
Issue No. 2232
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