Bloody Muslims. Every generation has that one great enemy, doesn’t it?
For the establishment and government, it’s useful to have a concentrated hate and distrust, for papers like the Mail, Express and redtops it’s great because they make a lot of money from it and certain political parties scare monger to gain votes.
Who do you think our generation’s arch enemy is? Who if we could only get rid of then everything will be hunky dory and our children can again play out in the fields and we can finally leave our doors unlocked because thieves will be done away with. Like the good old days!
I can only think of two real groups which have been subjected to the long term dehumanization. Romanians & Roma (They’re different things, something that some social Conservatives genuinely don’t know) are the latest one, we’ve seen it all, from police “experts” swearing blind that these people will increase the crime rate to individuals being held up as a not so shining example for an entire race or nationality of people.
But the main one is of course the Muslim.
For the sheer rebellious nature of being born a Muslim (Which for the record, I think any child being born into a religion amounts to practical brainwashing) you can be expect to be hunted by the Conservative press, you can be expected to be compared to some one who you’ve never met from a place you don’t know where is because they did something stupid, you can expect funny looks and huge guesses about your faith and even though you’re English may be perfect you will still be told to “Go back to your own country” and to “learn the language” not to mention my favourite of the lot “Respect our (often spelt “are”) troops”.
You have to ask yourself why we’ve allowed society to regress like this?
Possibly a part of it is the West’s last 20 years worth of interventions and stupidity in the Middle East, already making a natural enemy in the mostly Muslim Arabs. Or is it our support of Israel, who activity support the dehumanization of Palestinians and illegal occupation of the West Bank? Or is it simply that Muslims are seen as exotic and strange, so in times of economic collapse and social unrest it’s easy to point the finger at the ones who stand out from the pre set image of what a British man looks likes?
Cast your minds back to the Blair government passing the anti terror laws, the House of Lords putting up a rare fight for civil liberties and British Muslims being examined closely by the press, like a blood hound, every nook and crannie searched for stories to stretch and blow out of context to sell more copies to people who can’t be arsed to read the actual facts, because digesting small, easy to swallow pieces of simple information is much easier.
But hey we beat the IRA and we need another villain to justify defence budgets and attacks on both civil and political rights. Although that is a good point, even today in 2013 I’m sure as hell more likely to be blown up or shot by a Protestant or Catholic militant than I am a Muslim one. If I had to wear a “I love England” shirt while having the Union Jack around my shoulders like some demented football fan, I’d much rather walk around Bradford and Tower Hamlets than Free Derry and South Armagh.
For a lot of us, media and government attempted to drill into us the fear of the Islamic extremist, because, we the West are the defenders of human rights (unless you’re from Chagos) and the only one’s who can defend the rights of women and gays. We’re constantly given an image of a snarling Muslims who is desperate to destroy the “British way of life” while burning poppies, forcing our daughters to wear burqas, making non Halal meat illegal and stoning people to death.
If you need to ask yourself what the average Muslim thinks, you’ve already missed the point.
Gareth Shanks tweets as @GarethShanks