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Once upon a time, there was this thing called 'Multiculturalism'. 
I write about those turkeys who've voted for Christmas.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Panto Terror

One of the major stories of the past week was that of Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, the terror suspect of Somali origin, breaching an order restricting his movements by fleeing a mosque in a burqa.

There have been many angles to the story:  from the spectre of the terror threat to the efficacy of the new ‘terrorism prevention and investigation measures’ order, or TPim, which Mr Mohamed is alleged to have breached. If you’d picked up a newspaper or browsed any newszine, an army of pundits had run with the item, and waxed lyrical on related themes: terrorism prevention, surveillance, burqas, burqas in public places, burqas in hospitals, burqas in courts, liberalism/feminism/secularism Vs freedom of religion… And last but by no means least, if you’d listened to any talk-radio, the British Street had spoken with one, clear voice: no more. No more burqas, no more immigration, no more softly-softly, no more Islam in Britain.  

All of the above deserves its place in the sphere of public debate – I won’t disparage any of it. But two things struck me: firstly, the relish with which the topics were gorged upon. This wasn’t sober coverage; it was closer to an orgy. One could almost visualise broadcasters and commentators ejaculating over the bevvy of hot topics spread out in front of them.

And secondly, not at any time when the burqa drum was being banged – or should I say burka or berk-a, in line with the enthusiastic mis-pronounciation – did I hear a single comment reflecting that only a small minority of Muslim women actually wear a veil that covers their face.

This all brings me to an alternative view as to why the story got picked up and highlighted to such an extent. To be sure, I don’t believe it has anything to do with the legitimate points above. Rather, it was because it presented a rare, pantomime spectacular. Put simply, news makers and headline writers were able to use the words terror, mosque, berk-a and Mohammed – not once but twice - in just the one sentence. And thus the dominoes were lined up precisely, and the first one tapped.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

On Pakistani grooming

In October 2013, the BBC screened an extraordinary account of the last days of Tommy Robinson as leader of the English Defence League. His journey began with a chance encounter with Muslim commentator Mo Ansar, and led ultimately to the doors of the Quilliam Foundation, a counter-extremism think-tank.

His position vis-à-vis Islam morphed over that time from a stock ‘Islam is evil’, to a more nuanced one, wherein he still considered parts of Islam/the modus operandi of many Muslims to be incompatible with modern Britain, but saw that street violence was the wrong tool for change.

One particular point that had led to his hostility, was that of ‘grooming’. It is a fact that the practise of targeting vulnerable girls, enticing them with gifts, drink and drugs to create a dependency - the quid pro quo for which soon becomes sex – is a UK crime disproportionately carried out by Pakistani men.

For Tommy Robinson, the reason for this was Islam itself: “There is a terrible view in Islam of women, especially non-Muslim women.” The same opinion was echoed by others, such as when Mo Ansar met with families of grooming victims: “The men in those (Islamic) families are using Islam as an excuse to treat the females in their family like that…they say, ‘within our religion, this is what we can do’ ”.

I’d like to posit another theory, and in the spirit of a picture painting a thousand words…

The above serves as a cartoon reduction of Islam, through Western eyes. It shouts its message of violence, of male domination and female subjugation. For many, it captures the very essence of Islam; a perfect distillation. Moreover, it then becomes legitimate to view every Muslim through these terms – indeed, it soon becomes impossible to view a Muslim outside of such terms. And now moving on…

The above serves as a cartoon reduction of the West, through Muslim eyes. Its messages are crystal clear: of decadence, drunkenness, money and privilege, reckless abandonment – and an advertised sexuality. When white woman are harassed, or otherwise receive 'unwelcome attention' when travelling to Muslim countries, it's because the guys offering 50-cent camel rides cannot view white women outside of such terms. But what the disproportionate grooming of British girls by Pakistani men also shows, is that many of these men, either born or long since settled in the UK, also cannot view white women outside of such terms.

In both cases, myopia is made possible when the ‘other’ remains unknown, or where the only exchanges are trivial. So whilst the Pakistani groomer may encounter white women in his day-to-day business, those transactions cannot challenge his world view. And thus his entry point into this subterranean world, is a complete disconnect from the wider society in which he lives. It is his isolation - not his religion - that keeps the 'fantasy' of white women burning in his mind.