Friday, July 23, 2004

Jeremy Seabrook on Islamophobia

The Respectable Racism

Jeremy Seabrook has an excellent article in today's Guardian, which I strongly commend to liberals and certain Marxists who have taken a profound atheistic turn these days:

The Islamophobia embraced by the BNP as a surrogate for its formally disavowed racism is by no means confined to the wasted landscapes of former working-class communities. It is deeply rooted and widespread, as was revealed by the success of Ukip (just listen to Robert Kilroy-Silk assert that "Muslims everywhere behave with equal savagery").

Indeed, Islamophobia is the only form of prejudice to which the middle class can readily admit: a religion which is perceived as advocating repression of women and hatred of gays renders acceptable forms of prejudice that would be unthinkable if directed against any other social group.

Officially, all right-thinking people have forsworn racism, now believed to fester principally among the no-hopers on rough estates. But Islamophobia is the half-open door through which it makes its triumphal re-entry into respectable society. In recent articles in the Sunday Telegraph, Will Cummins has urged the Conservative party to espouse a more aggressive stand against Islam. "Do the Tories not sense the enormous popular groundswell against Islam? Charges of 'racism' would inevitably be made, but they would never stick. It is the black heart of Islam, not the black face, to which millions object."