Britain's War on Islam - by Stephen Lendman
Western vilification of Islam is longstanding, cruel, and unjustifiable. In his 1978 book "Orientalism," Edward Said explained a pattern of Western misinterpretation of the East, especially the Middle East. In "Culture and Imperialism" (1993), he broadened Orientalism's core argument to show the complex relationships between East and West by referring to colonizers and the colonized, "the familiar (Europe, West, us) and the strange (the Orient, East, them)."
He explained Western high-minded/moral superiority notions compared to culturally inferior Muslims. They're now portrayed as dangerous bomb-throwing terrorists, making them easy prey to wrongfully victimize.
Ramsey Clark is a former US Attorney General and International Action Center (IAC) founder. He's also a committed activist for social, economic, political, and racial justice. In his new year's message, he expressed worry and hope looking ahead, saying:
"During the past year, there has been a dangerous upsurge, largely manufactured by the media, in anti-Islamic bigotry. Simultaneously, supposedly, in the name of 'peace,' " American and Western allies have attacked and occupied non-threatening Muslim countries preemptively and lawlessly.
Notably post-911, they've viciously targeted Muslims for political advantage. Throughout America, continental Europe and Britain it rages, harming innocent men and women. With no regard for democratic values and justice, they're bogusly charged and imprisoned for crimes they neither planned or committed. Yet supportive media reports convict by accusation, the public unaware that supposed threats were lies, yet it repeats endlessly.
No wonder former Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi once told a Kuala Lumpur audience that Muslim vilification was "insensitive and irresponsible," adding that false accusations and hate are "widespread within mainstream Western society....The West should treat Islam the way it wants Islam to treat the West and vice versa. They should accept one another as equals."
Islamaphobia in Britain's Media
A January 2007 Islamic Human Rights Commission report titled, "The British Media and Muslim Representation: The Ideology of Demonisation" corroborated various studies showing UK Muslims believe British media inaccurately portray them and their religion falsely and unjustly.
In 2008, a Channel 4 Television "Dispatches" documentary, based on a Peter Oborne and James Jones "Muslims under Siege" document, revealed how UK media and political figures propagate widespread Islamophobic views, similar to America where Muslims are vilified as terrorists.
Since 2000, UK findings showed most media reports portrayed Muslims as dangerous, backward, irrational, extreme, incompatible with British values, and prone to commit terrorism. Both tabloid and major broadsheets stand guilty, including London Guardian writer Polly Tonybee once saying "I am an Islamophobe and proud of it." The Independent's Bruce Anderson wrote:
"There are widespread fears that Muslim immigrants, reinforced by political pressure and, ultimately, by terrorism, will succeed where Islamic armies failed and change irrevocably the character of European civilisation."
Author Martin Amis in the Times wrote "There is a definite urge - don't you have it? The Muslim community will have to suffer until it gets its house in order." The "Muslims under Siege" document explained that:
"Islamophobia is a tremendous force for unification in British public culture. It does not merely bring liberal progressives like Polly Toynbee together with curmudgeonly Tory commentators like Bruce Anderson. It also enlists militant atheists with Christian believers."
Moreover, it's punctuated by political opportunists wrongfully charging Muslims with terrorism, taking advantage of public sentiment against a Muslim presence in Britain. More on that below.
In "Muslims under Siege," Oborne and Jones noted how mainstream society for centuries singled out an alien presence for hatred and opprobrium because they were perceived to threaten British identity. Earlier targets included Catholics, Jews, French, Germans and gays. Today it's Muslims, public enemy number one as in America.