Anti-Muslim Bigotry and Far-Right Terror
Publisher: Kenan Malik
Date Written: 25/03/2019
Year Published: 2019
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX23574
Far-right ideology is fuelled by such a large mishmash of ideas that censoring anti-Muslim rhetoric is futile for stopping attacks.
Many rightwing commentators, including Murray and Phillips, argue that they are not hostile to Muslims, simply critical of Islam. It's an important distinction, but also one that's gravely misused.
I have long argued that the very term Islamophobia is problematic because it conflates criticism of Islam and hatred of Muslims. As I wrote in a report by the anti-racist Runnymede Trust, this conflation enables both Muslims 'to attack criticism of Islam as illegitimate because it is judged to be "Islamophobic"' and 'permits those who promote hatred to dismiss condemnation of that hatred as stemming from an illegitimate desire to avoid criticism of Islam'.
We can see this in contemporary discussions in which those promoting hostility to Muslims as people are able to say: 'Not me, guv. Im just criticising Islam.' There's a parallel here with the antisemitism/anti-Zionism debate. Antisemites often use anti-Zionism as cover for their odious views. At the same time, many exploit the fact of such antisemitism to damn all anti-Zionism as unacceptable and to try to close down debate.