This Guest Post from the excellent writer Shazia Hobbs, author of the novel ‘The Goris Daughter’ touches on the laughable, as well as worrying, case of Bedfordshire Police using a pro-ISIS graphic to launch ‘Islamophobia Awareness Month’. This action is something which has caused great consternation and brought out a lot of criticism for Bedfordshire Police. This piece by Ms Hobbs asks why is Islam the only religion to which critical questions about it are met with the accusation the critic has a ‘phobia’ about Islam?
Islamophobia – By Shazia Hobbs
A police force in England has launched a campaign to tackle ‘Islamophobia’ in their area. They seem pleased by their efforts to unite the communities by having people report hate purely because they are Muslim. Either this force are blind, or do not care for the ridicule they have received on social media, showing the failure in their attempts at uniting.
People are rightly a little annoyed by these efforts, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Islamophobia is a made up word to stop any sensible debate on Islam. A phobia is a fear of something and to be punished for fearing a religion, an idea is a bit worrying.
There is no other religion that has phobia in front of it and its followers protected from any criticism. Take the Jewish religion; we know there is a lot of hate directed towards the Jewish people, here in the UK and worldwide. For while it seemed that every time you picked up a newspaper or turned on the TV there was another Labour party member being investigated for their anti-Semitism remarks and beliefs.
So where are the ‘Judeaophobia’ campaigns to reassure the Jewish people? Are they working on them as I type?
What about those who leave Islam and are harassed and intimidated by others who have not left the religion? Are the police planning on setting up a campaign to reassure them that they too will be protected against the hate? What about Ahmadi Muslims will they be protected? In April of this year, Scottish Ahmadi Muslim, Asad Shah, was murdered by another Muslim for not being the right kind of Muslim. Surely the Ahmadi Muslims are deserving of a campaign.
Muslim hate is a real thing there is no doubt about that. I have a brown face and grew up with racism, from both my Pakistani and white sides. Racism has existed in the UK since the arrival of immigrants from other countries, immigrants with brown and black faces. Racism will never be eradicated if one side is treated more favourably than the other.
There are so many fake stories out there, people proven to be lying time and time again with their tales of hijabs being pulled off, slapped for wearing one, and so on. These lies that are told take away from the genuine cases of racism and hate towards Muslim people. There is enough hate crime to be reported without faking it. Instead of hearing the genuine voices we give airtime to the fakers and liars.
Time, effort and money are being put towards the ‘Islamauxphobia’ campaign that could go towards tackling serious issues that occur in society. I would like to see campaigns to eradicate forced marriages and FGM, these are criminal offences and yet no one has been punished. If you do not punish people then it gives the green light to others to carry on with their backwards tradition and cultures that have no place in a secular society.
I was told by an ex policeman that an allegation of racism can lead to a policeman/woman being suspended from their job for a year or more with the risk of dismissal or even imprisonment. Yet those who force their children into a marriage and life of misery and those who mutilate girl’s vaginas are free with no worry of a prison sentence.
People are punished for voicing their fear of Islam, punished for criticising Islam and people are slandered and threatened with death for daring to suggest that Islam needs to be reformed. Death to apostates is a view shared by too many. Maybe those in powers should be looking to ex Muslims for campaign ideas and ways in which to unite the communities instead of dividing it even further.