Reimagining British Muslims
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Wednesday 18th May 2022

Tuesday, July 5th, 2016

Brexit, it would seem, has legitimised and unleashed festering racist and xenophobic sentiments in Britain. This is unsurprising given the language and rhetoric that had been employed by the Leave campaign. That said, this did not start with the Leave campaign.

Over the years we have seen the rise of the British far-right with groups such as the barely operating British National Party, the English Defence League, Britain First and Pegida. We also have political parties that pander to these sentiments, parties like the UK Independence Party. Even parts of the Tory party has not been immune from such sentiments. Then there is of course the media. Some sections of the press have, for many years, stoked right-wing sentiment with daily headlines about immigrants, asylum seekers, terrorists, Muslims, Romanians, Poles and Eastern Europeans.  They have been relentless in their headlines. The incidents of public racism, that we are now witnessing, do not arise out of a vacuum nor have they occurred overnight. They are as a result of years of careless and divisive rhetoric.

What is most surprising about this racism is that it is not only directed at the traditional Black and Asians immigrants or their descendents, but white European immigrants are facing it too. Not only have we heard of Muslim individuals racially abused, but white, blonde haired, blue eyed Polish immigrants have been in the line of fire too. Broadcaster James O’Brien of LBC Radio received a call from a distraught and tearful German woman who has lived in Britain for 43 years telling him that she is now too frightened to leave her home after she had dog excrement thrown at her front door. Two BBC journalists have said that they had received racial abuse. Sima Kotecha said she was in ‘utter shock’ after being called a paki by a Brexit supporter during a discussion on immigration.  BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire breakfast host and journalist, Trish Adudu, was told ” ni**er go home” after witnessing an Asian student being racially abused. On BBC TV she was visibly shaken and almost in tears over this incident saying that in all her years in the UK she has never, ever suffered racial abuse from anyone.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council released figures showing that 331 incidents were reported to the True Vision site. This averages 47 reports of hate crimes per day, the usual average is 63 per week. The leaders of both the main political parties, David Cameron and Jeremy Corbyn, have condemned the rise in racism and xenophobia. Cameron saying that he condemns the “despicable” xenophobic abuse after Brexit and that the country would not stand for hate crime he told MPs. Corbyn, in a visit to the Polish Social Cultural Association in Hammersmith, said “the rise in racist attacks over the past few days is utterly and totally deplorable, completely unacceptable.”

This issue is a cause for great concern and only time will tell if it is a temporary blip on the British multicultural landscape. MuslimView calls on political leaders to address this trend with a matter of urgency.



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