Some readers of the Murdoch Times may have found today’s lead story confusing, with its headline “Terror Police warn against new rules on Muslim hate … May urged to reject definition of ‘Islamophobia’”. How can a definition of Islamophobia hamper anti-terror operations? Ah well. The point of this story is not to side with the cops: rather, it is an attempt to allow the press to keep on running Muslim bashing knocking copy.
This story is being run ...
We can see the real purpose of this story - which will, with the certainty of night following day, not be the last in the genre - by considering that definition of Islamophobia, and note that for Zelo Street, there is no need to use quote marks.
The definition of Islamophobia can be put simply and directly. “Islamophobia is rooted in racism and is a type of racism that targets expressions of Muslimness or perceived Muslimness”. This has come out of the All Party Parliamentary Group on British Muslims (see their report on Islamophobia HERE; the definition is on Page 50).
What the Murdoch press has done today is to fire off the first salvo in what is likely to be a series of bad faith attacks on the APPG definition, with the intention of stopping its adoption. Why that should be can be more easily understood by going through the thread on the subject from Miqdaad Versi from the Muslim Council of Britain (see HERE).
... because the press wants to run stories like this ...
Also required reading is the accompanying Twitter thread from Sayeeda Warsi, where she tackles the leaking of a letter from Police chief Martin Hewitt which formed the basis for that Times lead article (see HERE). Most disturbingly, it is clear to her that Hewitt has not read the APPG report, and nor has he engaged with anyone on the APPG.
That, though, still does not tell us why the Murdoch press has made this a lead story in its flagship UK daily title. Why the Times has done this is straightforward: adopting the APPG definition of Islamophobia would reduce significantly the press’ ability to put the boot in to Muslims. It would put the lid on casual linking of Muslims and/or Islam to violent crime, for instance. So no more “‘MUSLIM CONVERT’ BEHEADS WOMAN IN GARDEN”.
Worse for the Murdoch goons, there would be less opportunity to run clearly prejudicial headlines like “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care”, the story which ended up trashing the reputation of Andrew Norfolk, and which was rather more complex than readers were led to believe. It also involved a significant amount of misinformation.
... and stories like this
Those who look in regularly on Zelo Street may recall that the Daily Mail lifted the initial Times “Muslim foster care” story, and so no-one should be surprised when the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker join the fray. This matters for two reasons: one, our free and fearless press should not enjoy any special right to run stories which, in effect, deal in racist stereotyping and deliberately show groups like Muslims in a negative light.
Also, two, the press would not defend a supposed right to be anti-Semitic; far from it. So why should it be able to gratuitously vilify Muslims? What is happening is that the APPG definition of Islamophobia is going to help bring the press’ Wild West Show to an end.
Islamophobia is defined as racism. Because racism is what it is. Full stop, end of story.
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