Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Islamophobia in London | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
Select Page

“Stop Islamisation of Europe [SIOE] is a dangerous slogan. It was raised in front of London’s large mosques last Friday by a fanatical racist British group calling itself “Stop the Islamisation of Europe” on the eighth anniversary of the 11 September events. In a cunning and deceitful manner, this group does not say that it is against British Muslims, but its slogans chanted by its members repeat “The Muslims are bombing our streets”. Despite the limited presence of these racist bands, those concerned for the Muslim communities are deeply worried about the future stability of these communities in Europe. Racism is growing day after day and downplaying or minimizing its dangers may have catastrophic consequences.

In my opinion, the danger of these racist groups does not lie in their numbers at present. It lies in their tactics. These groups realize that public opinion in Europe is opposed to them and their ideas just as it is opposed to any racial discrimination. That is why these groups publicize their slogans, demonstrations, banners, speeches, and video clips by posting them on YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook. They resort to a provocative language primarily aimed at instigating the young enthusiasts of the Muslim community in Britain to counter-react in a violent manner. The western media is always ready to put the spotlight on and inflate negative Muslim reactions. Such violent reactions might broaden support for these racist groups by some sectors of the average European community. Unfortunately, this is what happened in front of the Harrow Mosque north of the British capital last Friday. After the supporters of “Stop the Islamisation of Europe” gathered raising their racist slogans, a similar number of zealous British Muslim youths also gathered in front of the mosque. Such gatherings or counter-gatherings are allowed by law. But the problem is when the situation gets out of control. The nearness of these two contradictory groups is like adding fuel to the fire. When voices rise and curses and swearwords are exchanged, the tension rises and everything becomes possible. Regrettably, some Muslim youths acted rashly. They pelted the British policemen with stones and this is exactly what the radical racist British group wants.

The other dangerous aspect that will increase the influence and support of this racist British group is that they discovered that they have common interests with the radical British right-wing and the soccer hooligans. Some sources have even referred to contacts and coordination among these high-strung groups. Although the British National Party claims that it keeps its distance from this fanatical gang, as the BBC site says, anti-racist groups have shown pictures of figures in the British National Party participating in the demonstrations stage by this gang. If this racist cooperation were to succeed, one can imagine its effect on British soil and on the Muslim community that is more than one million strong.

With all candor and regret we say that the behavior of a limited number of youths from the Muslim community and its Islamic centers can act as fuel to feed the racist groups opposed to Islam and the Muslims in Britain and all Europe. The Muslim community continues to suffer from the inflammatory and provocative statements made by Abu-Qatada, Abu-Hamzah, and Omar al-Bakri as well as by the Al-Qaeda sympathizers that bombed the subway in London and attacked the airport in Glasgow. These were seduced by the glamour of the British media without realizing (or perhaps realizing, God knows) the negative repercussions that their behavior and statements would have on the Muslim arena in all of Europe.