For the next few days I will be responding to some widely accepted lies about Islam. They are all used to justify bigotry, making it sound concerned and respectable. It is a very common bigotry, with 61% of Britons not believing Islam is compatible with British culture*, but I have noticed how popular this kind of thinking is in atheist or secularist communities.
The issues are:
- The veil/burqa/niqab/hijab is misogynistic and oppressive
- Islam is anti-democratic
- Islam is violent
- Islam is un-British/Muslims can’t integrate
Comparisons to Nazism and antisemitism usually fall flat, but in Kevin Passmore’s A Very Short Introduction to Fascism**, he points out how, for national-populists, “the figure of the Muslim has taken over from that of the Jew as the embodiment of evil” (not to suggest that antisemitism no longer exists). The far-right may have led hatred against Muslims, but they aren’t the only ones buying into it, asking for this fear-based ideology to be treated with ‘serious debate.’ Essentially I only want to persuade you of one idea: that the about the supposed threat of Islam is fashioned out of media portrayals, and not the other way round.
*according to a 2009 Gallop poll