Trevor Phillips’ words


by Sunny
22nd October, 2006 at 11:51 am    

In today’s Sunday Times the CRE chief Trevor Phillips has written an article. It’s mostly a sensible article (surprisingly) without much of the scare-mongering language he usually uses to grab the headlines. In my mind the most significant (and agreeable) is this bit:

Straw’s comments could have liberated us to say that sometimes we don’t like the way others behave, without turning it into an accusation about their faith or race. The so-called Muslim leaders who initially attacked Straw were wrong. They were overly defensive and need to accept that in a diverse society we should be free to make polite requests of this kind.

Then something went wrong. This important but fragile piece of ground that needed a gentle, nuanced discussion about how we talk to each other with respect in a diverse society turned into what the political folk call an air war, fought on TV studio couches and radio phone-ins across the land.

On one side of the trenches we have those who want a fully fledged auto-da-fé against British Muslims, in which anything any Muslim does or says must be condemned as a signal of their wilful alienation and separation…

As I indicated in my recent comment is free article, I would agree with that. The most interesting thing is this. Phillips ends with a quote: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, Said no more water, but the fire next time.” Whatever. But this leads The Times to declare that “Race boss warns of ‘fire’ on streets.” That is possibly the most idiotic extrapolation I’ve read.


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  1. Nindy — on 22nd October, 2006 at 12:30 pm  

    Another day, same ole story.

    Watching the news this morning, I find that the BBC themselves have gone with the race riots angle. The fact that there are no tangible signs of diconcerted Muslim youths brewing up a storm that will allegedly manifest itself into a riot is another example of the British mass media’s American morphism. Our media is guility of blowing stories up out of all proportion before proper research and discourse has been allowed to take place. Again, this is one of the problems of 24 hour media – that is the need to get that story (scoop) out there before anyone else, when in fact, the story is in its infancy. Fourth estate my arse. We’re all tabloid news now.

    I am personally stupefied that Jack Straw’s article, which addressed the issue of veils lightly, has bushfired into another facet of the growing trend to see all Muslim related stories as another example of the “problem of Islam in western societies”.

    The fact that the language of race riots has been mentioned is enough to cause further angst among Muslim youths and in turn have the effect of producing an actual riot, which will then allow the media to say “told you so” and so on, and so on.

    All this over a non-story.

  2. justforfun — on 22nd October, 2006 at 12:54 pm  

    Nindy – yes it is a bit much when we have a much more important story which I think I caught on the radio – Jack Straw’s ideas for the 2nd chamber.

    Now what I heard makes sense to me – abolish all life pears made to date –

    Now my bits – have elections and appointments to a second chamber that is called ‘Senate’ or some other title – some thing grand like Her (His) Majesty’s Advisor (HMA). Let the title Lord, Earl Duke etc remain as a hereditary title under the control of the usual hereldic body and these titles are purely discretionary with no political power – abit like in India where the Maharajas and Rajas etc had their power removed but could if they wanted still use their titles and stand for the Commons and as HMAs, but we could have a debate about that.

    As this is a political site with an sub-continental flavour, maybe we could have a general debate about our democracy in general, but perhaps with the pro and cons on any special ‘minority’ quotas for the second chamber. By minority I mean anything from “one legged people” through the spectrum to people who over use skin whitening products through to people who use tanning products and anyone else who can claim to be a minority. Perhaps there should be no quotas at all. Perhaps all voters have a ballot to choose 5 minority sectors and then let these sectors fight amongst themselves to put forward canditates for us to all vote on.

    Sunny – Lets have a brain storming session on another thread perhaps.

    *puts the thread back on the track*

    Justforfun

  3. El Cid — on 22nd October, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

    Hmmm.
    “Then something went wrong”
    I think that was indicative of the amount of pent-up pressure that had built up on the usually tolerant non-moslem side (let me rephrase that — the non-political-moslem side). I mean just how tolerant can you be?
    Do we blame the media for giving too much airtime to moslem criminal and women-hating chav jumping up and down, burning stuff and threatening hell?
    Do we blame the majority tolerant, non-practising or just moderate moslems for speaking up?
    Do we blame the UK government for not standing up and facing the truth that is so self-evident to everyone else — that we fucked up in Iraq?
    Do we blame the extreme left for their perverse reasoning?
    Do we blame the liberal intelligentsia for their muddled thinking?

    While I may sympathise with all the three above points, I haven’t made my mind up. Nothing’s straightforward. But I agree, the centre has shifted.

    The question arises: so what exactly do we stand for?
    The challenge: another London manifesto that lovers of liberty, secular or non-secular, of all races, whether “native immigrant” or “native”, can agree on.

  4. Chairwoman — on 22nd October, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    El Cid – Actually you have made five excellent points. And I agree with all of them. Basically I blame everyone. And I don’t think there is a centre anymore (I am of course not speaking mathematically, before Vickrant corrects me).

  5. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 1:18 pm  

    The most interesting thing is this. Phillips ends with a quote: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, Said no more water, but the fire next time.” Whatever.

    No need to be dismissive about Phillips concerns. He is right we need a debate on race relations were all concerns can be aired and answered.

    In todays observer ;Racial murders: nearly half of victims are white. An indictment of the failures of anti-racists who have dealt with white racism and allowed Black and Brown racism to go unchallenged.

  6. Yakoub/Julaybib — on 22nd October, 2006 at 1:20 pm  

    Odd how you cut your quote short, and missed out how Trevor continued: “This could be the trigger for the grim spiral that produced riots in the north of England five years ago.” This has been headlines on the BBC and elsewhere as a threat to riots, which doesn’t seem that odd to me. Can we just recall Trev’s history on Muslim issues.

    • In 2003, echoing the then Home Secretary, David Blunkett, he called for Muslim extremists to be deported
    • Calling for an end to multiculturalism in April 2004
    • In a major speech in 2005, he misrepresented a complex issue as ‘sleepwalking to segregation’ between various ethnic or religious groups as primarily a matter of choice
    • Muslim faith schools threaten the coherence of British society (January 2005)
    • British Muslims willing to live by the values of Shariah law were told to move abroad (February 2006)

    And now? “Well, my mate Jack said something, and oh, whoops, there’s a media panic and Muslim are folk demons all the more. Better be careful, or they’ll burn our cities to a cinder.

    Sensible? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeease!

    Wasalaam

    TMA

  7. terryfitz — on 22nd October, 2006 at 1:32 pm  

    I have mixed feelings about Trevor Phillips. On the one hand he has been brought in to shut down the CRE because of its massive financial corruption and thirty year history of stirring up race hatred against white people and on the other still allows it to carry out witch hunts by using the issuing of Non Discrimination Orders against which there is no defence and no appeal.

    To put the veil thing in perspective what I think has happened is this. The wearing of the niqab has become both a political statement and a fashion item for a small minority of, usually, young Muslim women.

    A posted elsewhere on this blog yesterday that when I first began to work with the Bangladeshi community in East London over thirty years ago I cannot recall a single woman wearing one. Similarly when I lived in Bangladesh in the 80′s there were non to be seen either in the capital Dhaka or in any provincial cities. Even in tiny villages I never saw one. I was in Morocco last November and December researching articles on people trafficking and never saw any there either and that goes for a city like El Aiuun one of the last before Equatorial Africa.

    Back on the Whitechapel Rd and in Brick Lane they are everywhere. The more that Islam has become a political hot potato the more they have appeared. I don’t for one moment believe the claims by the wearers that they feel protected from the unwanted attentions of men. If that were the case their mother and grandmothers would have worn them and they didn’t.

    I also will not have any of the nonsense about the veil being the same as the clothes worn by Orthodox Jews or Sikh turbans. The wearer of the niqab is saying that she is separate from the mainstream of society in this country and has to wear it because she is a victim of prejudice from white people.

    If people wish to wear it in their own homes or walking down the street I have no objection to that except to say that they are missing out on much that is good in this country because they have chosen to segregate themselves from it. When they interact with the rest of us there are rules that apply and one is if a person is offended by the niqab as I am then that person has a right to refuse to deal with the wearer. That rule is and should be applied right the way across our society. If someone wants to deal with the rest of us then certain rules apply.

    The one bit of humour that has come out of all this is that the Socialist Workers Party, having already ditched gay and womens rights to get the Muslim vote for Respect which they control, has now launched a campaign to defend the niqab. I wonder what the next campaign will be,defend female circumcision maybe. Don’t laugh, they are so opportunist anything is possible.

    If anyone would like to see my articles on people trafficking go to http://www.saerchlightmagazine.com, scroll to archive and put in Terry fitzpatrick. I have even found Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis turning up in the Canary Islands.

  8. terryfitz — on 22nd October, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    Sorry my spelling is off today, the correct address is http://www.searchlightmagazine.com

  9. Sunny — on 22nd October, 2006 at 1:35 pm  

    Yakoub – believe me I’m no fan of Trevor Phillips. I do think he is vaguely right on the point that riots can occur if we don’t examine poverty and racial segregation. But yes, it is typical of the BBC’s modern rush to sensationalism that everything is about riots and “fire”.

  10. Sid — on 22nd October, 2006 at 2:21 pm  

    Hello terryfitz

    I lived in Dhaka in the 80s and 90s and I’ve lived in and travelled extensively in the Arab world. I pretty much agree with every word of your post #7. I’ve lived in a number of European countries too, and I think England is still the best country to live in if you choose to wear garments as ‘Articles of faith’, as it were, of any religion.

    I’ve noticed that the numbers of “niqabees” has increased in the 24 hour Leyton ASDA, which is what I use for my sample section of society. Its almost as if the wearing of it is telling the media to go swivel. Which is unfortunate.

  11. StevieJ — on 22nd October, 2006 at 2:33 pm  

    Maybe it will be a passing fad; a defensive reaction and eventually they will stop wearing them so much when things calm down.

  12. Graham — on 22nd October, 2006 at 2:35 pm  

    Sunny, excuse me for going OT, and Terry please don’t answer if I am being intrusive but were you a regular in the Railway Tavern in Brixton many, many years ago?

  13. terry fitz — on 22nd October, 2006 at 2:45 pm  

    Graham,

    Yes I used to use the pub. I was active in the squatters movement in the East End in the seventies and there were a lot of squatters in Brixton who I met through joint activities. An old pal of mine was Malcolm Douglas from New Zealand who squatted just around the corner.

    Terry

  14. Jagdeep — on 22nd October, 2006 at 2:57 pm  

    Terry Fitz

    I just want to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading your posts so far — hope you will stick around to give us your insights, because you also have a really fascinating background. I have said for a long time that the victim culture needs to be re-calibrated, that the transference of the race relations industrial complex to religious grievance is an utter disaster, and it is good to read that someone as commited to fighting racists bravely in the streets as yourself, shares that perspective to a certain degree. Good to have you here contributing.

  15. Graham — on 22nd October, 2006 at 3:01 pm  

    Ah I know exactly who you are – you probably won’t remember me- I was one of two teenagers who fell out of the local comp and into the hands of Pete Chambers at that time! I vaguely remember Malcolm.

    Good to see you still going and keeping up the good work anyway.

    Better stop turning Pickled politics into “friends re-united” now, as I’m not sure Sunny has forgiven me for the Dhalliwal incident yet!

  16. Jagdeep — on 22nd October, 2006 at 3:52 pm  

    Blimey. Small world eh?

  17. Jai — on 22nd October, 2006 at 4:43 pm  

    =>”Blimey. Small world eh?”

    Probably even smaller for the Asians here. I bet we’re all less than 3 degrees of separation from real-life mutual friends/acquaintances somewhere.

  18. Jai — on 22nd October, 2006 at 4:55 pm  

    Sunny,

    re: posts #7 & 10 (and the other “veil” thread).

    I hope you’ve had a chance to plough through that PhD-length thesis I attached to the email I sent you last weekend, because I mentioned all of this along with some pertinent historical analogies.

    Hopefully you found it interesting reading anyway. Please let me know your thoughts when you have some spare time ;)

    *********************

    Regarding the ongoing controversies about the veil and various other Muslim practices, I agree that there is a distasteful whiff of bandwagon-jumping going on; increasing numbers of people are gradually exploiting the situation to declare open-season on Muslims and possibly Islam as a whole too. On the one hand, at least it means that some long-overdue uncomfortable questions can be raised, but on the other hand it’s providing a thinly-veiled (no pun intended) Trojan Horse for the more unsavoury types to vent their bigotry on what is now being regarded as the bogeyman-of-our-era. Nasty stuff. And of course it plays into the hands of the extremists on both sides.

  19. Kulvinder — on 22nd October, 2006 at 5:58 pm  

    I also will not have any of the nonsense about the veil being the same as the clothes worn by Orthodox Jews or Sikh turbans. The wearer of the niqab is saying that she is separate from the mainstream of society in this country and has to wear it because she is a victim of prejudice from white people.

    Although i agree the CRE does more harm than good, you’re a loon to presume you can attribute an individual’s rationale for their religious attire; let alone seperate religions on an arbitrary basis. They wear it for the reasons they choose.

    That said there was a sweet irony to you following that up with

    When they interact with the rest of us there are rules that apply and one is if a person is offended by the niqab as I am then that person has a right to refuse to deal with the wearer. That rule is and should be applied right the way across our society. If someone wants to deal with the rest of us then certain rules apply.

  20. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 6:18 pm  

    Kulvinder,

    I think that has to do with the general narcisism of a typical Westerner. Everything anyone does, who doest happen to come from the West (read non white) , even if they were born in the West (children of non white immigrants or even non white natives) has to be a reaction to, or in rejection to them. The wearer cant be doing it because of God, or culture, religion, or whatever, it has to be to be all about me. This is a phenonema, I might add that is very particular to white Westerners.

    I suppose anyone has a right to reject the society they were born into, much like so many wanting people in Muslim countries to reject their socieities, culture, religion, etc.

    BTW, you cant argue that the wearer of any religion garbs is both making a political statement in rejecting the majority society while also being forced to wear it by the almighty patriarchs. Obvously I am speaking about the religious attire of Muslim women.

  21. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 6:33 pm  

    terryfitz,

    ” I don’t for one moment believe the claims by the wearers that they feel protected from the unwanted attentions of men. If that were the case their mother and grandmothers would have worn them and they didn’t.”

    Well if that is what they are telling you, I dont really think you have a right to undermine them due to your expiriences with other Muslim communities. If our little anecdotes are going to be the bulk of our argument in favor of our stance then I can tell you that the Salafi dawah which has been quite popular in the past two decade more or less has had alot to do with women wearing the niqab atleast in my community. My community by the way are of generally black american converts to Islam. I doubt they are doing it solely in rejection of whitey. All thier friends wear it, their husbands prefer it in a wife and OH IT IS A SUNNAH. THE WIVES OF THE PROPHET WORE THEM AND WHEN YOU ACCEPT, as apart of the religion, THAT THEY HAVE LEFT BEHIND THE BEST OF EXAMPLES FOR MUSLIM WOMEN, YOU WILL COPY THEM, READ ABOUT THEIR LIVES AND BE INSPIRED BY THE WAY THEY PRACTICED THE RELIGION. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?

    ” The wearer of the niqab is saying that she is separate from the mainstream of society in this country and has to wear it because she is a victim of prejudice from white people.”

    Let me guess, you are one of those white people who has the final say in the matter?

    “The one bit of humour that has come out of all this is that the Socialist Workers Party, having already ditched gay and womens rights to get the Muslim vote for Respect which they control, has now launched a campaign to defend the niqab. I wonder what the next campaign will be,defend female circumcision maybe. ”

    What a shame that you have to indulge in bullshit hyperbole. As if to suggest that female circumcision, whatever that is, has anything to do with a woman wearing a niqab. As a matter of a fact the areas of the Muslim world, and the African world where female circumcision is the most prevalent, the Niqab is not. How is that for nuance.

  22. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

    Jagdeep,

    I happen to disagree with you about this Terryfitz fellow. He/She seems to be a complete retard.

  23. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 6:48 pm  

    Bikhair just call Terry an Islamophobe and leave it at that.

  24. Chairwoman — on 22nd October, 2006 at 6:51 pm  

    bikhair – the point he raised about femail circumcision was a dig at the SWP who are so unprincipled that they will espouse any cause, no matter how distasteful they previously found it, or drop any they previously supported in the attempt to win votes. It was not an attack on Islam.

  25. Vikrant — on 22nd October, 2006 at 7:36 pm  

    I happen to disagree with you about this Terryfitz fellow. He/She seems to be a complete retard.

    And here I was beginning to think after a year in our company Bikki has finally started to make sense.

    We have a saying in Hindi for people like you:

    Ulta Chor Kotwal Ko Dante

  26. mirax — on 22nd October, 2006 at 7:40 pm  

    >>And here I was beginning to think after a year in our company Bikki has finally started to make sense.

    the naivety and optimism of youth…

  27. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 8:02 pm  

    ZinZin,

    What is an Islamophobe?

  28. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 8:13 pm  

    Bikhair you have not read the ideals page on this site have you?

    I am stunned everyone must have heard of Islamophobia? It has been in popular use for the past five years in Britain and Europe.

  29. Vikrant — on 22nd October, 2006 at 8:17 pm  

    Zinzin sane advice: Dont feed the trolls.

    Keeper Vikrant

  30. Sunny — on 22nd October, 2006 at 9:13 pm  

    This discussion is in danger of disintegrating.

    Bikhair makes one good point: that it is a bit patronising to assume that all women who wear the veil do it for specific reasons.

    However it is also true that most of those pretending to fight for their rights adopt it as a political symbol. They are the Hizbis who would be criticised by the Salafis for bringing attention upon themselves when that negates the whole point of wearing the niqab.

    Bikhair also says: As if to suggest that female circumcision, whatever that is, has anything to do with a woman wearing a niqab.

    I think his point is that there needs to be a limit on what is allowed just because someone claims it is their religion. If a women is being forced into wearing a niqab or hijab then it is right of lawmakers to step in. If girls are being sexually abused or undergoing FGM then religion or culture is no excuse. The problem is some people DO USE IT. I’ve heard real examples from lawyers.

    The SWP – well they lost their moral bearings years ago.

    Terry – one point though. There has been increased religiousity, that is undeniable. But I think it’s too simplistic to say it is a reaction against white society. It has also happened within young Sikh and Hindu groups, and the it is also much more to do with feelings of identity, alienation and the media spotlight.

    If all you’re hearing from people is that brown people are not welcome in this country then they won’t feel British – they may feel more at home with identifying themselves as Muslims, Sikhs or Hindus.

  31. Sunny — on 22nd October, 2006 at 9:16 pm  

    Trevor Phillips’ article may have been ok, but I’m very disappointed that he continued with his “there will be riots on the streets” rhetoric even on TV interviews. It only increases suspicions; the man is a fool.

  32. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 10:52 pm  

    ZinZin,

    I know what an Islamophobe is but I would never and have never used it to describe anyone. So long as you arent Muslim you have some hostility towards Islam simply because of your rejection of it. Terry is just wrong, whether it is out of fear or stupidity.

  33. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 10:54 pm  

    mirax,

    “the naivety and optimism of youth…”

    the senility and jealously of old age…

  34. Sahil — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:22 pm  

    “So long as you arent Muslim you have some hostility towards Islam simply because of your rejection of it.”

    This is an absurd statement. I don’t follow Islam, but I have no hostility towards the religion itself. I have a problem with certain muslims, who choose to justify their negative actions via Islam, and hence taint the religion itself.

  35. ZinZin — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:30 pm  

    Bikhair
    I am a kaffir or should that be kufr or infidel.

    I do reject Islam for a myriad of reasons.

  36. Sid — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:39 pm  

    I still think that the Peter Osborne article overarchingly frames this entire debate including this Trevor Phillips comment. It was pretty mind blowing and even more so that it came from the Daily Mail. I mean, WTF is going on?

    Blair and New Labour have catergorically lost the Iraq war. They regard the Muslim loyalty vote to Labour as lost for good. And they are using anti-Muslim sentiment to obscure their own massive crimes against humanity in Iraq. Where people should be looking to impeach Blair in this international debacle, they are instead being lead by the equivalent of a newspaper lynch mob to hang the nearest niqabi from a TV boom. And as Osborne observes:

    “Rather than try to win them back, Labour has cut its losses, and decided instead to stir up racial tension as a means of appealing directly to the white working-class vote. Labour activists tell me Jack Straw’s remarks have proved ‘incredibly resonant’ on the doorstep.”

    Even as low the depths are, the SWP will go in order to gain support, equally bad is New Labour’s cynical indifference to Muslims on the street as they play to the gallery and incite anti-Muslim hatred.

    Hand on my heart, I think Muslims would do well to switch their vote to the Conservatives. That would be the most powerful force Muslims can use to protect themselves from this New Labour tactic and give a roundhouse thwack to Blair’s head at the same time. Political ideologies have no value whatsoever, just use your vote.

    Come on you Muslims, get with it.

  37. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 22nd October, 2006 at 11:41 pm  

    ZinZin,

    Please dont use that word infidel to me. I am not a christian and you are a kafir as far as I am concerned. There is no concept of fidelity in Islam.

  38. El Cid — on 23rd October, 2006 at 6:01 am  

    You’re so stale Bikhair, but then black absorbs heat.

  39. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 23rd October, 2006 at 8:55 am  

    The swaziter maybe a symbol that represents the sun, but it also represents Nazism. I would not expect a white person to wear it and claim that the viewer is wrong to associate the wearer with Nazism, but instead the viewer must accept that the reasons that the wearer chooses, for instance, they like the shape or they worship the sun.

    When a musilm women wears the veiI she may do for many reasons, but she knows its association with political Islam and is aligning herself with it however much she protest to the latter.

    As for this trevor bloke, his predictions of riots sound a little like Enoch Powels warnings all those years ago, “there will be blood on the streets” I don’t either should be given to much creedence.

    I also think that Bikhair is the perfect example as to why “Muslim” feelings shouldn’t be respected by default..

    TFI

  40. Leon — on 23rd October, 2006 at 10:54 am  

    I still think that the Peter Osborne article overarchingly frames this entire debate including this Trevor Phillips comment.

    Agreed. Phillips is a friend of Blair and a Neo Labourite.

    Blair and New Labour have catergorically lost the Iraq war. They regard the Muslim loyalty vote to Labour as lost for good. And they are using anti-Muslim sentiment to obscure their own massive crimes against humanity in Iraq. Where people should be looking to impeach Blair in this international debacle, they are instead being lead by the equivalent of a newspaper lynch mob to hang the nearest niqabi from a TV boom.

    Bang on the money.

  41. Jai — on 23rd October, 2006 at 11:19 am  

    Bikhair,

    =>”So long as you arent Muslim you have some hostility towards Islam simply because of your rejection of it.”

    That’s not necessarily true. It is entirely feasible for people to be neutral about Islam. Some people will not know enough about Islam to make an informed decision about their feelings towards the faith either way (hostility or otherwise), others will simply be not interested as they will be preoccupied with other matters in their lives.

    Love and Hate are not the only emotions — there is a huge area of neutrality in-between.

    Same analogy applies here.

  42. Anas — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

    Racial murders: nearly half of victims are white

    I’ve made this point before. Given the demographics of this country, white people making up the vast majority of the population, the fact that only “half of victims are white” means that you are far, far more likely to be a victim of a racial murder if you’re from an ethnic minority. The vastly increased probabilty of being subjected to racial assault and murder is something we non-whites have had to put up with for ages. So what is the point in bringing up that statistic?

  43. Anas — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

    OK, maybe I was a bit vague in my last post.

    My point is that white racism against non-White minorities is still hugely disproportionate and so should still be the overwhelming focus of any analysis of racism in this country. Usually when people talk about the increasing level of racism against Whites, they usually ignore the fact that the figures still reveal an immense disparity in racial attacks and discrimination, seemingly implying that the ethnic majority’s racism is far more acceptable than any other type.

    Also, it seems to me that the White majority has been let off the hook recently: the focus is ALL on Muslims and their reluctance to integrate. Which is understandable given that asking uncomfortable questions about the majority of the population and their prejudices is not exactly a vote grabber.

    To quote Mike Marqusee:

    Despite the statistical reality that ethnic minorities are on the receiving end of abuse and discrimination from their fellow citizens and the State, they are blamed for a failure to integrate. Facts on the ground, however, do not bear out the self-segregation thesis. According to the latest census, the indices of residential segregation for all ethnic minority groups fell between 1991 and 2001. The index of isolation — measuring how likely people are not to know people from other groups — is highest for white Christians, followed by white people with no religion. According to CRE studies, 95 per cent of white Britons do not have a Black or Asian friend and one in four would not want to live near them; in contrast, 60 per cent of Muslims have non-Muslim friends.

  44. soru — on 23rd October, 2006 at 3:47 pm  

    On the down side, being from a minority means you are far, far more likely to commit one.

    So be nice.

  45. Anas — on 23rd October, 2006 at 4:02 pm  

    True, Soru. But the statistic is often used to play up to irrational white fears of black and brown faces, to the notion of white victimhood in this country. It’s all part of this absurd idea that white-majority culture is being swamped by other, especially Islamic, cultures and that it is at threat.

    Anyway, I’m always nice.

  46. Anas — on 23rd October, 2006 at 4:15 pm  

    They are the Hizbis who would be criticised by the Salafis for bringing attention upon themselves when that negates the whole point of wearing the niqab.

    I thought the point of the niqab was not to bring a certain kind of attention on yourself, i.e., the lusty male gaze, rather than any attention whatsoever, in which case there would be a fashion for camoflage niqabs.

    Another point…
    The wearer of the niqab is saying that she is separate from the mainstream of society in this country and has to wear it because she is a victim of prejudice from white people.

    This notion that it’s a means of separating yourself off from mainstream white society is a little suspect. I mean it’s not as if niqabs are worn only for the benefit of white people, they’re worn in sight of, excluding close family relations, ALL MEN, not just white men, but Muslim men too! It may be a symbol of separation for some white Brits (and some Brown Brits, and Muslims too), but it could equally be seen as a symbol of devotion to God, so maybe it would be helpful if we as a culture were more aware of women’s reasons for donning it, rather than vicously condemning it based on prejudices.

    As for TFI’s comparison of the swastika with the veil? A little absurd no? I can’t recall political Islamists having slaughtered millions of innocent people.

  47. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:00 pm  

    Anas, my point is simply that the many “reasons” for wearing the veil are more “excuses” to wear the veil.

    Because no women wearing the veil in this country is unaware of the message wearing it sends out.

    Political Islamists have yet to slaughter millions of innocent people, give them time.

    TFI

  48. Anas — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    TFI, this may be an inappropriate comparison but your comment reminds me of the rape case during which the judge claimed that the rape victim had “asked for it” by wearing revealing clothing.

    I recommend that before you weigh in about the “excuses” women give you do a bit of background research into why women wear the veil in the first place. Your words betray a resounding ignorance which isn’t rendered forgivable by the fact that it’s also quite common.

  49. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 23rd October, 2006 at 7:54 pm  

    Anas,

    Although I share the security concerns of providing a network that terrorists can travel the country undetected like Micheal Jackson does in Bahrain, or OBL in Pakastain, or Jornalists in pre war Afganistan, I don’t support banning it as it is a sympton of Political not the cause. You might as well pass laws banning the night.

    Despite whatever “reasons” a Muslim women chooses to wear the veil, she activitly chooses to stand next to policital Islam, if that women wanted to distance herself from policital Islam, she would not wear it.

    Its not that complicated.

    terryfitz states it very well in post #7, personally I call the “reasons” to wear it “excuses”, or to quote Rushie “the veil sucks”.

    My “resounding ignorance” may upset you, but in return your lack of clarity and your weak attempts at moral equilvance on this issue upsets me.

    The veil debate is not complicated, or interesting. It is like focusing on a persons rash when they have liver failure. We should be focus on the liver failure and the rash will clear itself up.

    TFI

  50. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th October, 2006 at 12:58 am  

    TheFriendlyIdiot,

    “When a musilm women wears the veiI she may do for many reasons, but she knows its association with political Islam and is aligning herself with it however much she protest to the latter.”

    Wrong Stupid!

    “Despite whatever “reasons” a Muslim women chooses to wear the veil, she activitly chooses to stand next to policital Islam, if that women wanted to distance herself from policital Islam, she would not wear it.”

    Wrong Stupid. Now I know that I have to accept that you understand the native better than he understands himself but in this instance you are wrong. Any woman who wears a veils is associating herself with the wives of Prophet Muhammed as Muslim women were commanded to imitate them, to love thier example and the example of thier husband. You may associate their act with politics but you are no more correct about your opinion than I am. (Though for the record I am correct and you just a doofus.)

    Now you go to a Muslim woman wo wears a veil and ask her why she does it. If she is correct in her belief system she will produce the proofs from the Quran and the hadiths for her reasons, along with her reasons for doing else she calls Islamic. Hopefully she will not respond that she does it to give whitey the finger because Aisha, Zainad, and the rest didnt do it to provoke whitey.

    Ok so when you argue that it is done for politics then you too are arguing that it is a choice which in this crazy ass liberal society she has the right to make such choices.

    Youre stupid.

  51. El Cid — on 24th October, 2006 at 7:52 am  

    Arabs are fucking Caucasians you dimwit.
    “Whitey” indeed. Eeejet minger.

  52. bikhair aka taqiyyah — on 24th October, 2006 at 9:37 am  

    El Cid,

    Arab is a cultural, historical and linguistic grouping which has nothing to do with skin color. Being white has everything to do with skin color. Those Arabs in the Sudan arent white. Or would you call them Arabized blacks similar to the Arabized berbers of north Africa? In any event, yo momma.

  53. Chairwoman — on 24th October, 2006 at 10:01 am  

    bikhair – I think you’ll find that racial physical types are based on skeletal differences, not skin colours. Therefore Arabs and people from the sub-continent are indeed Caucasian.

  54. Jai — on 24th October, 2006 at 11:22 am  

    Chairwoman,

    =>”I think you’ll find that racial physical types are based on skeletal differences, not skin colours.”

    I agree completely. However, I tried to make the same point a few times on Sepia Mutiny (the American version of PP) and got lynched by some of the commenters there. Some Asians over there are very, very touchy indeed about all this and go completely berserk. It appears to be something specific to North American culture to automatically assume that “race” = skin colour, even though common sense and a decent understanding of biology indicates otherwise.

    (This is not to say there isn’t sometimes a considerable overlap between skeletal factors/facial features and skin colour, but personally I’ve always regarded the former to be the main identifier, not the latter).

    =>” people from the sub-continent are indeed Caucasian.”

    Hmm. Not all of them. It’s a convoluted (and very controversial) issue, but the majority of people back in the subcontinent appear to be a combination of various ethnicities. The average Asian in the UK — which is dominated by individuals whose ancestry lies in the northwestern belt, from Kashmir down to Gujarat, on both sides of the border — isn’t representative of what the average Indian looks like back in India. However, I would say that many of the stereotypical “northie” types are Caucasian to some degree, albeit much closer to certain sections of the Middle-Eastern variety rather than Europeans (especially Northern & Western Europeans).

  55. chukker — on 31st October, 2006 at 2:17 pm  

    IF/when anyone (gender unimportant in this context) adopts the garb/lingo/smell/whatever of religious fanaticism, that person can expect to be treated as one; bitch about it all you like, drag red herring across it – like skin colour or skeletal type – but reality is: if YOU choose to present yourself to the world as a danger, the world may decide to expunge your sorry ass. In which case, YOU are at fault. Do not wail about being “misunderstood”; you flew the wrong flag BY CHOICE!

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