Islamophobia is not confined to online groups. It leaks across public life

This ugly form of racism shapes the way Muslims are perceived and treated. On Friday morning, as the news from Christchurch was still rolling across radio bulletins, Sir Mark Rowley, the former head of counter-terrorism at the Met, was commenting on the horror on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. Fifty Muslims had been brutally murdered, and 48 seriously injured. For 17 horrifying minutes, a white supremacist terrorist unloaded round after round of bullets into men, women and children.
Islamophobia was undoubtedly real and on the rise and being propagated online, said Rowley. But, he went on to quibble, Islamophobia wasn’t racism. To conflate the two was, he claimed, “clumsy thinking”. The remark was treated as a random aside, made off the cuff, and left entirely unchallenged. Why? Because, it would seem, even on a morning when we’re reeling, devastated and trying to process terrorist violence in mosques, it is fair game to diminish the lived reality of Muslims. Which isn’t me being dramatic; it is simply a fact. Islamophobia is racism: it’s not a coincidence that the majority of Muslims are not white and have roots in formerly colonised countries. It’s not an exaggeration to say that racist stereotypes abound to the point where you don’t even have to be a Muslim to be attacked as one (just ask a Sikh navigating the world post-9/11). Islamophobia does not simply exist on the unpalatable mass of the internet. It’s not the preserve of rightwing extremists whom we write off as online nutters. It leaks across public life, in our institutions and our media, to form a pernicious feedback loop and almost nobody cares. If in doubt, consider the lonely figure cut by Sayeeda Warsi, whose calls for an inquiry into the documented Islamophobia within the Conservative party are blithely ignored by government.

via guardian: Islamophobia is not confined to online groups. It leaks across public life

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