Socialist Worker

Say no to the racist backlash after Paris

Right wing politicians and the media want to use the terrorist attacks in Paris to ramp up racism against Muslims, writes Judith Orr

Issue No. 2480

Rejecting Islamophobia at a vigil in Birmingham last weekend

Rejecting Islamophobia at a vigil in Birmingham last weekend (Pic: Paul Stringer)


Muslims across Europe face a backlash in the wake of the Paris attacks. A deluge of media coverage portrays Islam as inherently dangerous.

Muslims who had nothing to do with the terrorist attacks are under pressure to disown them.

A full page editorial in the Sun newspaper on Monday of last week declared, “Moderate Muslims and the politically correct left must condemn more and excuse less.”

It said Muslims must “rise up” against an “industry of activists” that it claimed is filling young Muslims with hate.

But Muslims should not feel pressure to say the Paris attacks are not in their name—and some have spoken out against the racism.

Sara from Bradford told Socialist Worker, “Political leaders will use what’s happened in Paris for their own ends.

“Muslims are always made to feel like we have to justify ourselves, or even apologise when things like this happen. It’s not fair. And it’s getting worse.”

Muslims were under attack before the Paris attacks.

New laws and police powers disproportionately target them. Muslims are more likely to be stopped and searched and imprisoned than any other section of the population.

The number of Muslims in prison has almost doubled since 2002, from 7.7 percent to 14.4 percent.

The Tories have used the Prevent programme to intensify the crackdown.

It is now a legal requirement in the public sector to use Prevent to target Muslims suspected of being “extremists”. Suspects are brought in front of a panel to be “deradicalised”.

Exposed

A survey published this week exposed the reality of increased Islamophobia in Britain.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission interviewed 1,782 people. They asked the same questions asked in a 2010 survey. On every measure Muslims said Islamophobia was worse.

Around 66 percent said they had experienced verbal abuse, up from 39.8 percent in 2010.

Some 18 percent had faced physical assault. One 21 year old woman from Bishops Stortford, in Hertfordshire, said she stopped wearing the hijab because she was “bullied so much”.

She added, “I regret doing so but in such a racist environment I find it very difficult to even fit in with the colour of my skin.”

One woman in London was “spat at, verbally attacked and stared at and mocked”.

Many Muslims blame the racist agenda pushed by politicians.

One said, “Politicians openly use Islamophobia to gain votes or notoriety and advance careers.”

David Cameron is open about how far he wants to go in his drive to demonise Muslims.

He said that Britain had for too long been “a passively tolerant society” because it said to citizens, “as long as you obey the law, we will leave you alone.”

Now he wants to go after Muslims who might have ideas he doesn’t like.

We have to stop this racist backlash.


Vigils for victims oppose war

People showed solidarity with the victims of the Paris attacks at vigils across Britain including in London, Glasgow, Birmingham and Leeds.

Hundreds, including many French people working and studying in Britain, gathered in London.

In Glasgow over 100 people came, many with homemade placards. Slogans opposed “state and all other terror” and said no to racism, Islamophobia and war.

In Leeds 200 attended a vigil where speakers spoke out against the use of these terrible events to attack Muslims, increase war and attack refugees.

They called for solidarity with all the victims of war and terror in France, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Sudan.


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