Islamophobia: the acceptable prejudice

Peter Oborne, a contributor (or former contributor?) to the Spectator, has been writing at length recently on Islamophobia, which he says can be expressed acceptably nowadays in ways which would make a pariah of anyone who so expressed any other prejudice. Most notably, he has presented a Dispatches programme entitled It Shouldn’t Happen to a Muslim, which is scheduled for transmission at 8pm on Channel 4 tomorrow, on the third anniversary of the 2005 bombings (you can also watch it on Channel 4+1 at 9pm if you’ve got digital); there is a 32-page PDF pamphlet accompanying it, available from Channel 4’s website; it demolishes a number of popular anti-Muslim myths, among them the claims about a “Muslim hate mob” vandalising a house belonging to some soldiers in Windsor and Christmas being “banned” to avoid offending Muslims. Islamophobia Watch has this entry, which has links to other recent writing (by Oborne and others) on the subject.

On that subject, last week the papers (links here) tried to whip up such sentiment by claiming that Muslims had protested against a flyer from the local police with a picture of a puppy on it, advertising a non-emergency police line. The beef was that a Muslim local councillor, who was on the police advisory board, advised (as that’s his job) that such a picture wouldn’t go down too well; the fact was that nobody actually complained. As it happens, I think that they should have produced an alternative design without the dog (meaning, with something other than the dog), but if was made to sound as if Muslims were up in arms, which they weren’t. Read Gabriele Marranci’s article for the full story.

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