Islamophobia

The nature of Islamophobia

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Talat Ahmed's article, Islamophobia, Repression and Resistance (Feature, Socialist Review, September 2013), was an incisive analysis of the rise of Islamophobia while asserting the importance of class.

However, there is one line of Talat's argument I feel compelled to disagree with. This may prove to be a matter of emphasis; however, if so, I think it is a significant one.

One, two, three, Tower Hamlets

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The English Defence League (EDL) suffered a significant blow last month when they attempted to march through the heart of Tower Hamlets in East London. Instead of being a day spent intimidated the local Muslim community and its allies, the EDL found itself unable to set a foot inside the borough.

Islamophobia: Repression and Resistance

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How we can resist attempts by the state to foster anti-Muslim hatred.

There has been an increase in Islamophobia since the killing of soldier Lee Rigby. Talat Ahmed looks at the role played by the state in fostering Islamophobia and at the potential for resistance.

The arson attack on the Harlow Islamic Centre in August was the latest in a worrying spike of violence directed against Muslims that was triggered by the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich last May.

After Woolwich

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The racist backlash after the murder of a soldier outside Woolwich barracks last month has been on a far greater scale than that following the 7 July 2005 bombings in London.

Even though more than 50 people were killed and over 700 injured in 7/7, there were only sporadic attacks on Muslims and their property. Compare this with the report from the Faith Matters think tank that it had logged 193 anti-Muslim hate incidents in first six days following Lee Rigby's murder, including ten attacks on mosques. This is 15 times higher than the average rate last year of just over 12 anti-Muslim hate incidents per week.

The tragedy of Salman Rushdie

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The controversy about Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses in 1989 revealed the hypocrisy of the ruling class and stoked Islamophobia. But, argues Gareth Jenkins, Rushdie's new memoir reveals someone who has travelled a long way from his former identification with the oppressed

On 14 February 1989 Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader of Iran, issued a fatwa against Salman Rushdie for having written a book "blasphemous against Islam". That book, The Satanic Verses, published the previous September, had already stirred up controversy - spectacularly, when it was burnt on the streets of Bradford - with calls for it to be banned in Britain (many other countries had already banned it).

Marxism and oppression

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Marxists are sometimes accussed of being dismissive of oppression, preferring to emphasise the importance of class. Sara Bennett explains why socialists argue for working class unity as the best way to combat, and ultimately abolish, all forms of oppression

Forty five years ago being gay in Britain was a criminal offence. Today there is a good chance we could see gay marriage legalised by the government before the end of its term in office. This is just one example of many huge strides forward we have achieved in the fight against oppression, whether of LGBT people, women, black people or other oppressed groups.

Dancing to the wrong tune

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In recent times Islamophobia has started to creep into art and theatre, including pieces by artists who have previously produced progressive and pioneering work. This is part of a corrosive trend that has led to some mainstream liberal commentators to pander to anti-Muslim racism.

From the 1980s onwards Australian-born choreographer Lloyd Newson, with his physical theatre company DV8, has created groundbreaking work. He has challenged the boundaries of dance, both in form and in content, and made work that was both overtly political and artistically cutting-edge.

The scandal of faith

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Why are some in the West so terrified of Muslims? There are many tediously familiar answers: because they are all potential terrorists, because they are a drain on the social services, because their culture threatens to swamp British civilisation and so on.

There is, however, a more subtle reason for Islamophobia. Think of the sheer strangeness, in the eyes of sceptical modern Europe, of the presence of countless millions of ordinary men and women whose everyday lives are shaped and guided by belief. What sense can an agnostic, pragmatic society make of that? How can faith possibly fit into its materialistic priorities?

Tories sow false divisions

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Last month David Cameron used a speech in Munich to attack multiculturalism, gaining fulsome praise from far-right and fascist organisations across Europe. Hassan Mahamdallie exposes Cameron's racist lies, while considering the legacy of multiculturalism in Britain

David Cameron travelled to Munich, of all places, at the start of last month to make a speech attacking our multicultural society and the more than one million Muslims living in it.

Why was this speech of such significance? It could be argued that Cameron was only travelling further down a road mapped out by Tony Blair. The deafening silence from New Labour, apart from frontbenchers distancing themselves from MP Sadiq Khan's condemnation of Cameron, was indeed wretched.

Fuelling Islamophobia

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As austerity attacks bite, the threat posed by anti-Muslim racism is likely to grow.

The recent student protests have been an inspiration, but not everyone is happy about them.

Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as "Tommy Robinson", leader of the racist English Defence League (EDL), made his displeasure known at a demonstration in Peterborough in December. He described students as "dirty, stinking layabouts" and threatened to send EDL thugs to attack future student protests.

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