Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Chickens and Eggs

Whose fault is Islamaphobia?

Before Sept 11, 2001 I never thought about Islam at all, just like 99% of people in the west. Why would I? It was the religion of a number of squalid backwaters dribbled across the middle east and into the dingy corners of South East Asia. Those backwaters contributed nothing to the world except that by chance nature had placed large amounts of oil under some of them. Not all, some. So I, like most people in the world happily living in advanced nations boosting ahead culturally, economically and technologically, spent exactly 0% of my life thinking about islam and muslims.

But with the bloodbath of the world trade centers, I could not continue to ignore islam. It turned out that there were 1.2 billion of these people, a significant portion of whom wanted to blow up our buildings, trains, buses, subways and people in the baddest way possible. They were trying to build nuclear weapons, poison our water, attack our infrastructure, murder us on holiday and lop off our heads on video.

Now, WEIRDLY ENOUGH, poeple didn't like it! They actaully felt that this quite bad show, just not on, really not cricket. Some of them wrote letters to their MP's, some them went to the extraordinary lengths of writing to the Times. Quite, quite extraordinary.

Now of course, this onslaught of tutting and letter-writing was bound to have its unequal and non-opposite reaction in the muslim community, who have invented Islamaphobia. Islamaphobia, for those of you who didn't know how you felt about islam, is the deep prejudice felt by all westerners against islam dating back to... probably the crusades. Its pervades our thoughts, and becomes concrete in our violence towards muslims.

Sadly, the actual evidence for the existence of Islamaphobia is very scant indeed. In fact, the evidence for its existence before 9/11 is nil. So if there is Islamaphobia now, its been caused by one thing alone- the actions of muslims across the world, but in particular those living in the nations of western europe like Britain, Spain, and France. All three have been attacked by muslim residents of their countries as punishment for 'crimes' they are supposed to have committed against muslims, crimes that don't exist and are simply the fantasies of delusional paranoics.

So what should we, as natives of these countries, think? For me, the historical perspective is informative. The last time England had a large population of non-English people living in it, who had no feelings of allegiance to it and felt its laws did not apply to them was 1130 years ago, when large numbers of Danes decided to borrow about 1/4 of the eastern side of England. It took about 50 years and lots of big battles before the English completely ruled their own land again, because every time a new Danish army wandered onto English shores, the Danes living in eastern England would give them aid and assistance. And boy, did that upset the locals.

The numbers are different this time, and we've got most of the guns, but if muslims living in Britain keep trying to kill the English, there's going to be trouble. And then running off to the European court of human rights to complain about Islamaphobia is going to be moot.

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