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Lessons in hatred and tolerance

Written By: - Date published: 10:47 am, February 13th, 2011 - 10 comments
Categories: International, racism, religion - Tags: , ,

There are some ugly things going on in England at the moment:

Cameron’s scapegoating will have a chilling, toxic impact

Blaming Islamists and multiculturalism for the backlash from US and British wars risks fuelling violence on the streets

In parts of Britain, Muslims are effectively under siege. They are routinely spat at and abused in the street. Over the past couple of months there have been arson and other attacks on mosques in Hemel Hempstead, Leicester, Scunthorpe, Stoke and Kingston, as well as desecration of a Muslim graveyard and fire-bombing of a halal shop.

Most of these outrages weren’t even reported in the national media, let alone the occasion for a supportive visit from a government minister. … As the Conservative party chairwoman Sayeeda Warsi said last month – and was roundly abused for doing so – Islamophobia has also “now crossed the threshold of middle-class respectability”. It is the last socially acceptable form of bigotry, often dressed up in the clothes of liberalism. …

[PM David Cameron] turned his fire instead on “Islamists”, “state multiculturalism” and “non-violent extremists” in the Muslim community. Muslims must embrace “British” values of freedom, democracy and equal rights, he declared, as if the vast majority didn’t do so already. Jihadist terror attacks were not driven by British and US wars in the Muslim world, he insisted – in the face of his own intelligence reports – but by an “extremist ideology” rooted in problems of “identity”.

And, grotesquely comparing non-violent Islamists to “rightwing fascists”, he warned that there would be a strict checklist of Muslim bodies the government would not now work with or fund (including the umbrella Muslim Council of Britain). He did criticise Islamophobia, but that passing comment was drowned out by the drumbeat of condemnation targeted at Muslims and their political organisations. …

I guess its up the Muslim world to teach us a thing or two about tolerance and courage:

Thousands of Egyptian Muslims Show Up as “Human Shields” to Defend Coptic Christians From Terorism

On New Year’s Day, a devastating terrorist bombing at a Coptic church in Egypt killed 21 people and injured 79 others. Although the identity of the culprits was not known, it was assumed that they were Muslim extremists, intent on targeting those they saw as heretics. …

Yet by Coptic Christmas Eve, which took place Thursday night in Egypt, things had changed completely. … What had been a promise of solidarity to the weary Coptic community, was honoured, when thousands of Muslims showed up at Coptic Christmas eve mass services in churches around the country and at candle light vigils held outside. From the well-known to the unknown, Muslims had offered their bodies as “human shields” for last night’s mass, making a pledge to collectively fight the threat of Islamic militants and towards an Egypt free from sectarian strife. …

Well and bravely done. To sum up, I can’t do any better than to carry on with the above:

It is a frequent complaint among opinion makers in the United States that the global Muslim community does not condemn and prevent terrorism. New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman has even said that Islam needs a civil war similar to the one the United States fought in order to deal with its extremists. But the truth is that moderate and progressive Muslims all over the world are battling extremism. Here in the United States, one-third of al-Qaeda related terror plots have been broken up thanks to intelligence provided by Muslim Americans. It is up to the press to report these positive stories and not exaggerate the sway that extremists hold over the global Muslim community.


10 comments on “Lessons in hatred and tolerance”

  1. Jenny 1

    With an overbearing and all pervasive state machine, it is somewhat surprising that Mubarak’s secret police never had any leads on the bombing of a Coptic Christian church.

    Some commentators have suggested that, in the campaign of torture, corruption and murder directed against the general population the police were just to busy.

    The looting of Egypt’s cultural heritage from the museum of Cairo, (only prevented by a human cordon of concerned citizens), and the rounding up of foreign journalists, which because of diplomatic niceties, couldn’t be tortured or murdered without risk of international incident, only added to the busy workload of the police.

    Less forgiving commentators have hinted darkly that the attack on Egypt’s Coptic Christian population (Egypt’s largest minority) very conveniently gave the regime excuse for even more repression against the mainly Islamic based opposition parties.

    The Egyptian people’s rally for the defence of their minority citizens is a test that we in the West have sadly often failed, with tragic and horrific results.

    Westerners could learn from the people of Egypt and rally to defend minority citizens from bigotry and prejudice. As well as being the right thing to do. It is the best way of overcoming sectarian extremism.

  2. ianmac 2

    Having met a few in the Muslim community it seems to me that the vast majority just want to get on with living as well as they can. To focus on the minority of angry extremists to condemn the majority is wrong.
    Look at the need to arrest and try the extremist ex-President Christian GW Bush. This might have happened had he gone to Switzerland recently. But surely this is not a case to condemn all Americans?

  3. just saying 3

    Paranoic islamophobia is being heavily pushed by the extreme right-wing “prosperity-theology” churches in NZ. Lotta crap goes round the internet from these local and international sources.

    • Jenny 3.1

      “Paranoic islamophobia is being heavily pushed by the extreme right-wing “prosperity-theology” churches in NZ.”

      just saying

      j.s. I am aware of this being attempted a number of years ago by a small group of Islamaphobic activists from overseas, who tried to get a hearing in the fundamental Christian movement here. Luckily this hate campaign failed to take off, being rejected (as far as I know), by all the Christian congregations in this country. To their credit a ‘fundamental” good sense of fairness and Christian decency by the vast majority of Kiwi Christians, meant these international missionaries of hate couldn’t get a hearing here, and the campaign fizzled out.

      If it has started up again, I would like to know about it.

      j.s. Can you provide links to websites, or cite any NZ Christian publication that currently preaches hate messages or intolerance against Islam or any other non-Christian faith?

      • just saying 3.1.1

        Hi Jenny,

        I’m a bit on the spot here.

        A convoluted reply.

        I have an old, old, close friend who has been trying to save my heathen soul for a number of years. I don’t want to diss her particular group publicly. I appreciate my friend’s sincere wish that I not burn in hell, and try and respect her spiritual beliefs, up to the point where, I believe, they can become paranoic bigotry on a couple of fronts.

        She is a member of a pretty big NZ-based internet prayer-chain/newsgroup, and members often share internet “articles” as a group. Sometimes she used to send a few of the articles to me, usually along particular lines, such as ‘proof’ of miracles and that god answers prayers, and quasi-scientific stuff. Usually I ignored them, sometimes they led to a brief argument.

        Anyhow, maybe two or three years ago she sent a couple of articles with a strong anti-Islam theme. We argued, which led to her sending much more of the anti-islam material that had been shared in the group – to convince me, which led to an even bigger argument, and we’ve never discussed Christianity or Islam (or atheism) again. Which is good actually. But islamophobia sp? is happening in good old NZ. I believe it is one of the many ‘themes’ in Ian Wishart’s magazine too.

        The internet group is made up of people from a variety of Evangelical and Baptist churches.

  4. M 4

    It’s heartening that Egyptians are defending their Coptic countrymen as Coptics do get a very hard time. I once had Coptic Egyptian neighbours and they were so grateful to be in NZ to escape the prejudice.

    I think some of the problem in the ME has been as a result of the US in Afghanistan in the ’70s when it was trying to get rid of the Soviets from the region. The US fired Muslims up using the concept of jihad to help them rid the area of the Soviets and were successful. Then having used jihad and Afghanis to support US troops didn’t know what to do when the jihad was turned on them with a very much enlarged support across the Muslim world.

    A case of unitended consequences, I reckon.

    • Vicky32 4.1

      Oh yes, indeed! I am on an American site, and I see the most unbelievable shite spewed against Islam (and equally vociferous screeching against Christianity.).
      By these nutjobs, religion is responsible for all the war and oppression in the world. (I trust everyone here knows that’s nonsense?)
      I think the CIA calls it “blowback”, M… 😀 )

  5. joe90 5

    these international missionaries of hate couldn’t get a hearing here

    NZ Conservative, the baiters blog, kg, fearfacts and almost daily Kbog carries the message.

    And newstime.co.nz is devoted to anti-Islam rhetoric, links to US hate mongers Geller and Spencer and, according to dnc.org.nz, the domain is held anonymously.

    • Tigger 5.1

      Agreed, the degree might not survive here but I have definitely noticed a hardening of opinion against any minority in the past two years. Conversative governments by nature want to drive a wedge against the us/them in order to maintain control. Expect more bashing based on religion, race, disability and sexual orientation. I mean, look at Laws and Henry recently…

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