First there was a return to lockdown for Leicester; now it is Greater Manchester, three districts of West Yorkshire, and some of east Lancashire. This has caused some out there on the right to see that some of the affected areas have significant BAME populations, and especially south Asian ones, and conclude that it was the Scary Muslims™ Wot Done It.
So it was no surprise to see an LBC report telling
“Craig Whittaker is MP for the Calder Valley, one of the areas that has been affected. He told Ian Payne that it is Muslim and BAME communities who have not been obeying lockdown rules. He said: ‘What I have seen in my constituency is that there are sections of the community that are not taking the pandemic seriously.’
” Would Sir like to be more specific about that?
Sir would. “Ian clarified that he was talking about the Muslim community and Mr Whittaker responded: ‘Of course … I've been challenging our local leaders for three weeks, asking what we are doing to target these areas … We have areas of high multiple occupancy - when you have multiple families living in one household. It doesn't specifically have to be in the Asian community, but that is the largest proportion
Holly Lynch, who represents neighbouring Halifax, took issue with Whittaker’s claim. “Simply not true. I speak to my local BAME community every day. We are all looking at packed beaches, mass football celebrations + excessive drinking on nights out with despair. That isn’t taking this seriously
”. And she was not alone.
Zarah Sultana, representing Coventry South, was on the same page. “The reason the UK has one of the highest Coronavirus death rates in the world is clear: Repeated Government failures. To try to blame Muslims and BAME communities is disgraceful. It's blatant racism. We cannot let the Tories play divide and rule
Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner had heard enough. “Tories blaming everybody else for failed #coronavirus handling, Europe & today Tory MP blaming the BAME community in particular the Muslim Community. l point out the first doctors to die from #COVID19 were Muslim doctors, BAME community have been heroes, Tories stop the blame game!
Stephen Bush at the Staggers
looked at the evidence for Whittaker’s claim and concluded
it was “thin at best
”. But he did make this observation: “Of Course, what we can say is that the government wants an insurance policy if we end up with a second spike of infections: and that that will involve blaming the public, in this case British Muslims. We should be clear that the evidence doesn’t support that claim
The Guardian noted that
“In areas such as the mostly-affluent Trafford, in Greater Manchester, the majority of the new cases were middle-class younger people, according to its director of public health
”. And FullFact considered the
Leicester lockdown, concluding “Claims that Muslims caused Leicester’s Covid-19 outbreak are baseless
But, as Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain pointed out, the damage has already been caused. Especially as alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who’s not racist at all, honestly, has refused to condemn Whittaker.
This is what happens when Islamophobia becomes “acceptable
”. And it has to stop
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This smug Tory shit ought to be prosecuted for peddling misinformation that puts lives at risk.
This sort of opinionated evidence-free scapegoating on media outlets is worse than scum who phone in bomb scares.
PM hasn't condemned Whittaker - nor has LOTO?
I had read that BAME people were more likely to be fined or charged with breaking lockdown rules. But as with stop and search, it will be due to institutional police racism.
The arsehole should have been in Brighton yesterday or any other mostly white seaside town and see the lack of social distancing observed. Not just the beaches packed. Town centres packed with few people wearing face masks. Had to move from a bench I was sitting on because some family plonked themselves right next to me, neither parents nor kids wore face coverings!
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