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  • Theresa May: we plan to treat Muslims like ordinary citizens

    by Sunny
    22nd September, 2010 at 2:26 am    

    This story has been put out by the Press Association:

    Home Secretary Theresa May has said it is time the Government stopped talking to Muslims only about counter-terrorism. The Government should instead treat the Muslim community as a “mature and fundamental part of our society”, break down barriers and tackle discrimination, she said.

    It must also aim to achieve “a better balance between public safety and civil liberties, something the last government got badly wrong”.

    via @HabibaHamid

    I agree that the last government got the balance wrong (though they were slowly correcting their mistakes), though this doesn’t say much in terms of specific policy shifts. In fact I believe the last communities minister said the same thing at one point.

    I wonder, is this an attempt to say some nice things before some big (negative) announcement is made? I wouldn’t put it past them. Though perhaps I’m being too cynical.

    If I were to hazard a guess, one of the main ways in which British Muslims are primarily seen through the prism of counter-terrorism is thanks to the right-wing press. Only a couple of days ago the Daily Express did a big front-page about ‘Muslim terrorists’ targeting the Pope. Of course it turned out to be rubbish, but the negative connotations are repeatedly hammered. Will the government do something about the corrections process at tabloids? Doubt it. In which case I’m not sure what this translates to…

    Update: Turns out this was said at an EID reception organised by the Home Office. See the press release, pics and video here.

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    Filed in: Religion

    8 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. sunny hundal

      Blogged: : Theresa May: we plan to treat Muslims like ordinary citizens

    2. Jennifer O'Mahony

      UK gov't acknowledges that Muslims are people too. Good? Theresa May: we plan to treat Muslims like ordinary citizens

    3. Yakoub Islam

      Theresa May: we plan to treat Muslims like ordinary citizens - Pickled Politics:

    1. boyo — on 22nd September, 2010 at 10:30 am  

      you’re right to be cynical - i think your understanding of “being treated like everyone else” diverges with the tory view…

      on your previous post re immigration, i think it has led to cynicism because its very visible evidence of a environment changing policy agreed by all the mainstream parties with next to no consultation, indeed with (historically) the active marginalisation of dissenting voices.

      whatever its rights and wrongs, there are few policies that have had such a visible impact on european culture in the last 50 years (other than the EC, NHS), yet it is one in which the public had little say over - no wonder it creates cynicism?!

    2. Jemmy Hope — on 22nd September, 2010 at 2:40 pm  

      ” … perhaps I’m being too cynical.” Not possible when analysing the statements of politicians.

    3. joe90 — on 22nd September, 2010 at 9:29 pm  

      damage has been done it may be irreversible do you really expect the muslim community to believe anything the government says anymore after being lied against and used as a political football for several years!

    4. Arif — on 23rd September, 2010 at 8:14 am  

      Disagreeing with some of the analysis above.

      What I consider cynical is when you push fear, hatred and scapegoating of others in order to mobilise people into following you.

      Theresa May’s announcement may be hypocritical, if it is part of plan to reduce civil liberties and target Muslims more effectively while appearing not to do so, but even then it has some virtue in lessening the fear and hatred etc on both sides.

      Our fears are being stoked by narratives and we have to find a way out of this game of chicken. People who think Islam is inherently threatening but are being protected by political correctness live in a different world to people who think Muslims are just like anyone else but being scapegoated by bigots. Each sees the other as a massive threat to a peaceful society. The massive number of media stories about Muslims justify both narratives, and the continual arguments about misrepresentations make little difference in changing people’s opinions.

      The Tory party and the Tory press are pushing different narratives here. Maybe you think the Tories are trying to ride both tigers, so they can flip from one narrative to another as it suits them (maybe to co-opt or exclude Muslims and anti-Muslims for different policies). But until this happens, I consider it positive and unexpected for this narrative to get an airing.

      At some point maybe we can separate the bigots on both sides from the people who have been driven to fear and suspect one another against their will. The Tories appear to be creating this platform for people with faith in common humanity to come together. Let’s not spike it out of partisanship.

      In some contexts what would looks like hypocrisy would be better described as statesmanship.

    5. Raff — on 23rd September, 2010 at 3:42 pm  

      well, frankly they haven’t really shifted on any of the other counter-terrorism policies that they said they would. What about the Tories announcement they would ban HuT and what about the control order system?

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