Tackling Islamophobia

5 December 2010
In this op-ed, Robert Lambert calls on the long-overdue proper debate on anti-Muslim violence and intimidation:
“The new all-party parliamentary group investigating Islamophobia will need to encourage the coalition government to tackle anti-Muslim violence and intimidation as a matter of urgency. Too many victims have suffered in silence and without remedy since the phenomenon became widespread after 9/11 to allow even a day’s delay.
The violence – ranging from murder, grievous bodily harm, petrol bombings, political violence through to death threats and vandalism – has remained largely hidden and unremarked outside of the communities where it occurs for the best part of a decade.
What motivates the violence? Just as a minority of journalists feel licensed to denigrate Muslims in a way they would not dream of doing to any other faith or ethnic minority community so too a minority of gangs and individuals commit violence against Muslims and their places of worship and congregation in the mistaken but often honestly held belief that they are attacking ‘Muslim terrorists’ or ‘extremists’. Invariably this motivation can be traced back to influential media commentators and politicians – not solely to the British National Party and the English Defence League. (…)”