Socialist Worker

'The media makes people think that all Muslims are terrorists'

As the West sinks deeper into another imperialist adventure in the Middle East, politicians’ racist propaganda about Muslims is fuelling more Islamophobia in Britain, says?Judith Orr

Issue No. 2427

The media has whipped up a panic about Muslims in Britain going to fight in Syria

The media has whipped up a panic about Muslims in Britain going to fight in Syria


The West is escalating bombing in Iraq, as politicians push for British airstrikes to expand to Syria. 

The warmongering comes with a ratcheting up of racist propaganda about Muslims in Britain.

The British government admitted last week that armed Reaper drones would begin “reconnaissance” flights over Syria.

The mission has already extended beyond the remit originally voted on.

The West is still looking for sections of opposition forces in Syria (see right) that they could arm to take on Islamic State on the ground. 

Turkey allowed Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces to cross its territory into Syria to join Syrian Kurdish fighters defending Kobane against Islamic State forces last week.

The plight of the Kurds has led to a new unity pact among different factions.

The West has claimed to have killed around 500 Islamic State fighters in the bombing. 

Many are thought to be the least experienced fighters who are put into the front line to protect the leadership. One report said that at least 23 are British.

Nineteen year old Muhammad Mehdi Hassan became Portsmouth’s fourth casualty last weekend.

His death led to a flood of speculation about Muslims living in the city.

One Guardian newspaper article commented that the city had become “an unlikely frontline in the battle against Islamist terrorism”.

Islamophobia

Maher Deyab is a taxi driver in Portsmouth. He told Socialist Worker that life for Muslims there has become harder as the media and politicians whip up Islamophobia.

“Now I won’t let my kids go and play in the park,” he said. “I don’t like my wife going out alone.

“I am scared for their safety as the media makes people think all Muslims are terrorists.”

Maher said racists in the English Defence League and Ukip have been active in the Buckland area of Portsmouth where he lives. 

He added that state clampdowns put some Muslims off standing up to attacks.

“People are worried about being imprisoned without trial,” he explained. “Stop and search is normal here. I have had my own very bad experience of that recently.”

The Charles Dickens ward in Portsmouth is home to several of the young men who have gone to fight in Syria. It is one of the poorest wards in Britain.

Families have an estimated household income of £430 a week compared to £670 in the rest of Britain.

One report found that over 50 percent of Bangladeshi and Pakistani families suffer poverty.

Maher stressed the need to take on racism and stop division.

He said, “We need people to say terrorists can be Muslim, Christian or of no religion. We need support. 

“And people need to speak out, not hide themselves away.”


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Tue 28 Oct 2014, 17:28 GMT
Issue No. 2427
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