I’ve always believed that Islamists living in liberal democracies eventually realise that their tub-thumping ways are no use, and end up joining the system. Of course, fringer nutters remain, but that general theory holds. A prime example is Inayat Bunglwala – from the Muslim Council of Britain – who eventually started writing articles and expressing views that most Guardian CIF readers found hard to diasgree with.
Yesterday Anas Altkriti, another tub-thumper of yesteryear, wrote this sensible article for CIF pointing out that Muslims have (shock horror!) quite ordinary concerns when it comes to making political decisions. It’s for this reason I’ve never bought the neo-con ‘Islamists-under-your-bed!‘ view that Islamists should be marginalised as much as possible. It assumes they can’t learn from us.
But I suspect many political Muslims get annoyed when such articles imply Muslims are just like anyone else, because in their minds that’s still not true.
The national tabloid press still regularly demonise and scare-monger about British Muslims and not many bat an eyelid. They still write furious articles in the national media complaining about how many babies these ethnics have because they’re scared their skin colour will be diluted.
I think there can only be one solution: have more babies. Have millions of black, brown and mixed-race babies. There comes a point when that demographic is so big that pissing them off means that the backlash is too high (I don’t mean violent backlash, but boycotts, losing votes etc).
Look at the controversy around the Pope’s visit. The Vatican has been responsible (I don’t know if the Pope himself has) for suppressing the molesting of thousands of children around the world. They directly helped destroy lives. Oh and let’s not forget that the Vatican’s stance on abortion, birth control and family planning has also destroyed millions of other lives around the world.
But the Vatican has too much political power for governments around the world to tell them to piss off. Well, I guess the Indian and Chinese governments could, and have done. But generally, no. In contrast if that were a Muslim religious leader the usual suspects would be writing furious articles about human rights.
This is hardly ever mentioned in the context of Amnesty’s work too. Amnesty has worked with the Catholic Church on various campaigns. Most feminists wouldn’t even come near endorsing the Vatican’s stance on women’s rights. But while the focus is on Muslims and how any association with them taints Amnesty, nothing is said about the Church.
The Hispanic example is actually better. Arizona has just passed a law that has Hispanics there thoroughly outraged. The Republicans don’t care that much – Latinos never voted for them much anyway, and they need to satisfy their anti-immigration base in the South. Democrats on the other hand can’t ignore Hispanics.
After a while the race and the religion doesn’t even matter: it comes down to numbers. If your numbers or clout is large enough then the establishment will pay lip service. Perhaps the mistake Latinos in the US made was to tilt too far towards the Democrats… removing the Republican incentive to avoid pissing them off. Although it looks like Republicans are paying the price already.
Perhaps what I’m trying to say is that the only way a minority can get over the bigotry is either by expanding in large numbers, or getting very close to the establishment.
That’s what current affairs tell us, right?
[caveat: I'm not saying all minorities should vote along ethnic lines, I'm merely pointing out that in extreme circumstances (draconian immigration laws for example, they have an incentive to]
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Filed in: British Identity,Race politics