Friday, December 9, 2011

The Islam Issue

Writing about the anti-Muslim movement that Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik supported, I mentioned that anti-Muslimists and Islamists online tended to agree that Islam is a critical concern:
Islamists needed to feel that Islam was about to swamp the world and establish a magnificent pan-Islamic caliphate. Anti-Muslimists needed to feel that the West was already jammed with traitorous Muslims, ripe for jihad. Both wanted Islam to seem an urgent issue.
So I was interested to see this weird observation from Britain's 2008-09 Citizenship Survey:
People who said that they thought there was more religious prejudice today than there was five years ago were asked which groups they felt there was more prejudice against. The majority (88%) of people who said that religious prejudice had increased said that this was associated with Muslims.
The belief that Muslims were being discriminated against was shared by diverse British groups: white (88%), Indian (89%), black Caribbean (89%) and so on. But there is more. Those respondents who said that there is less religious prejudice today than there was five years ago mentioned the following religions:
Islam again. The best is to come, though. Respondents were asked if they thought the government was giving too much or too little protection to religious groups. Guess which religious group was considered to be given both too much and too little protection?
No matter what, Islam seems to be considered an issue in Britain. Improving, worsening, too much support, too little. I don't have time right now to go through the study to see if Muslims really are unique in some way from the other religions. Perhaps, though, this is all indicative of recent excitement from the extremists, their determination to focus on Islam above all other faiths.

6 comments:

  1. That's a very interesting post, Shane.

    I think the post 9/11 focus on Muslims has a lot to contribute to this.Other communities have been through similar - and worse - experiences, e.g. the Jews in Hitler's Germany.

    If only we could rationalize our fears and refuse to become enablers of hate and violence!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Tahera! Yeah hopefully it'll pass in due course.

    I guess also that excitement over Islam has been used by anti-immigration groups who finally have a group of people they can rally against without being called "racist". For example, organisations like the BNP can oppose the alleged "Islamification of Britain" and win a certain amount of public support, while opposition to just "Africans and Asians" might be considered out of bounds!

    But I see aggressive Muslims also determined to make Islam an issue too, wedging it into every conversation.

    You know, when I came to Orkut in 2006 I was astonished by this focus on Islam. I'm sure here in Ireland there is much less excitement about it so far.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How do you mean 'aggressive Muslims also determined to make Islam an issue"? Are they defending Islam or propagating it's perceived violent ideology?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well perhaps I am misled since this was mostly from my experience on Orkut. But there were Muslims who were contemptuous of ALL other cultures, who made ridiculous claims about how Westerners were having sex with their sisters and needed to be saved by Islam and so on! Haha, so they jammed Islam into every discussion, trying to always steer debates around into civilisational clashes between Islam and West, Islam and India, etc.

    On Orkut both the anti-Muslim radicals and the Islamists were united in the belief that Islam was exceptional and a huge issue. Whereas ordinary, more moderate people, simply saw it as another religion.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I see what you mean. Yes, there are certainly those who behave as you say. For them there is only one way of doing things. Theirs. Orkut, like Facebook, does not afford much intellectual discussion, I'm afraid!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hehe yes, though despite the fact that the shrill voices of the mad often dominated Orkut I still feel I learned a lot from it. The moderates defended a sane middle ground. Anyway it was good and fascinating to deal with pretty extreme people from all ideologies :)

    ReplyDelete

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.