16 February 2015

We must stamp out hatred wherever we see it - Media reactions to the killings in Copenhagen and Chapel Hill have shown some worrying inconsistencies

.... it is with great sadness that we see how mindless violence has filled the last week. It began with the murder of three young Americans in Chapel Hill in North Carolina, apparently because of their Muslim faith, and ended on Saturday night with shootings at a cafe and synagogue in Copenhagen.

.... To combat the evolving threat we face from such increased hatred, I believe we need both a top-down and bottom-up approach.

At the national level, the government and senior politicians must be consistent in raising the profile and tackling all hate crimes equally, through a strategy fully co-ordinated with all those communities impacted. .... The media’s portrayal of Muslims is hugely negative and inconsistent - but only through self-reflection from journalists is this likely to change.

.... At the grassroots level, we must work hard to change the discourse of hate, and drive it away from the dinner table – it should no longer be seen as socially acceptable to speak about all adherents to a particular faith in such a derogatory manner.

.... In the end, it is only through a consistent and unified approach across all levels of society that we have a chance of combating the scourge of Islamophobia.... [Shuja Shafi of the Muslim Council of Britain, 379 Comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 185 votes] When Muslims kill people in the name of Islam, the response in the Guardian is always "don't blame Islam, this has nothing to do with Islam". When an atheist shoots three Muslims over a parking dispute, it has everything to do with Islam. Apparently.

[2ND 145] Why is the Guardian intent on painting the Chapel Hill killings as a consequence of Islamophobia, [rather] than what it truly was - a dispute over parking, which in trigger happy gun loving America can have lethal ramifications?

The killings of the Egyptian Coptic Christians and the ones in Denmark are a result of radical Islam which brooks no dissent and no scepticism and has a truly frightening aim of using violence and force to subjugate those who don't subscribe to these views.

We don't need the .... media in the West to portray Islam in bad light - the adherents of Islam do a good job of it themselves. ....

[3RD 134] If 'Islamophobia' is the hatred and abuse of Muslim people then it is a foul and unacceptable.

If, 'Islamophobia' is the hatred and fear of the ideology that motivates thousands of devout believers around the world to commit acts of barbaric savagery in the name of their religion and god, then it is a fully understandable and rationale response.

[4TH 130 "It began with the murder of three young Americans in Chapel Hill in North Carolina, apparently because of their Muslim faith"

No, it was apparently over a parking space.

[5TH 127] "Our response to these insults was instead to mobilise imams (Muslim theological leaders) across the UK to express our deep sadness at the caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in newspapers in the UK for the first time, while exemplifying his ideals by rejecting any violent response."

You don't get a reward for not being violent. You don't have the option of a 'violent response', if you take it you are breaking the law.

[6TH 114] The Guardian is clinging with bleeding fingertips to this bogus conflation!

[7TH 101] Am I supposed to applaud you for not wanting to kill people ....?

[8TH 99].... those who [would] kill for blasphemy are not a few .... but a large majority of Muslims. If it was not so, most of Muslim countries [would] not have blasphemy laws which prescribe [the] death penalty. I would say only about 30% of Muslims do not think death penalty is justified.

[9TH 92] It is not bigoted to begin to question the nature of a religion which would rather question free speech over this issue than that religion's own intolerance of free speech. .... Even the most liberal are beginning to open their eyes to that fact, as these threads demonstrate. The old 'bigotry' ship has long since sailed I'm afraid.

[10TH 85] Blame the media, blame the media, that is all you have to say.

The fact is the majority of news stories are accurate and report events fairly. Even sympathetic news media such as The Guardian tell the same story.

.... The simple truth is many Muslims in this country and abroad inspired by Islam as they see it do and say a great number of things from the trivial to the very important that annoy, puzzle and repulse non-Muslims and they are reported by the media.

It is all there: # Gender inequality # Segregation # Subversion of English law by sharia tribunals # Special treatment (veils, halal slaughter) # Under-age marriage # A Muslim woman can marry only Muslim man # Polygamy # Homophobia # Supremacism # Suppression of free speech (often by threat of violence) # Violent punishment including death for apostasy, and # Persecution of religious minorities ....

The problem has very little to do with the media and a lot to do with Islam.

[11TH 82] The Muslim Council of Britain always seems bewildered that it doesn't receive the highest of praise for condemning violence. .... Do you accept that a non-Muslim should be able to think and say what they like about Islam? Even if you find it "offensive" (whatever that is)? .... I think I know the answer.

[12TH 79] Islamophobia is a misnomer. The very term is an insult to the intelligence, and an attempt by cowards to stifle debate and criticism of an ideology.

[13TH 76] .... The concern I have that it's this heartfelt feeling of grievance from the majority [of Muslims] that gives rise to the violence of the minority.

.... it’s the law abiding citizen getting angry about insults against their religion that sows the seeds of violence. It’s the majority that frame how the religion reacts to slights, the violent minority are symptom of that anger.

[14TH 76] Islam teaches things which encourage many to kill. And Mullahs who teach extremist views to students, brainwashing them.

[15TH 74] .... Our faith, like all faiths, is clear that no amount of dislike for a person’s belief ever justifies the taking of a life.

No, the Islamic texts condone violence and even killing.

[16TH 70] "It began with the murder of three young Americans in Chapel Hill in North Carolina, apparently because of their Muslim faith"

If there was solid evidence that the three Muslim students were killed because of their faith the story would have received at least as much attention as the Copenhagen murders. As it was, it received much, much more attention than the random gun killings that happen every day in America. There is no evidence that this is anything more than another awful gun crime.

"In particular, the Department for Education must act to counter anti-Muslim prejudice in schools"

I agree. But then you must also agree to either close all Islamic schools or stop teaching directly from the Koran, a book that drips with hatred for non-Muslims, particularly atheists.

[17TH 61] So a Muslim publishes an article in the Guardian making it clear that although they were offended by the cartoons, violence is never the answer.

People might begin to approach the state of being persuaded if they say mass demonstrations against the murders instead of simply mass demonstrations against cartoons. It isn't enough to clog the streets moaning about blasphemy and offence over a cartoon but then make a couple of equivocal newspaper columns about the murders.

[18TH 61] I don't want them to denounce violence. I want them to start dismantling the underlying religious intolerance which feeds such violent actions, instead of reinforcing that intolerance.

[19TH 59] He killed three people. That is tragic and a crime. They just happened to be Muslim.

[20TH 59] .... people .... should be free to believe any old horse manure they fancy.

But when it is suggested that criticism of a particular ideology is unacceptable, no sorry, that just won't wash. .... attempts to demonise those who dare criticise what is essentially superstitious belief is beyond the pale.

[21ST 57] "We must stamp out hatred wherever we see it"

Great! And not before time. So, then, Shuja Shafi, how about you lead the charge?

But if you're not 'seeing it', here are a few to get you going: hatred of women; Jews; Christians; all other religions except Muslim; catoonists who depict Mohammed; homosexuals; transexuals; bisexuals; apostates; inter-faith marriage; the West; books; enlightenment; satire; humour; music; art; dance; free speech... and there's more, there always is - the never-ending Muslim offences list.

So there you go, Shuja, plenty there to get cracking on! Please do keep us up to date, now, won't you?

[22ND 50] At the grassroots level, we must work hard to change the discourse of hate, and drive it away from the dinner table – it should no longer be seen as socially acceptable to speak about all adherents to a particular faith in such a derogatory manner.

I admire the sentiment and agree that it is desirable that all adherents of a particular faith should not be criticised for the acts of a few, but I cannot accept that peoples' faith is beyond criticism.

[23RD 49] The west isn't at war with islam. Islam is at war with everything else, modernity, women, kids toys, hair, cartoons, snowmen, humour --- The list is very long.

[24TH 47] Mohammed had someone killed for mocking him. The people gunning for cartoonists are following his example. He was perfect after all.

Of course, the bible has its violent parts. And if extremist Christians were killing people all over the world and citing those same passages I expect Christianity would be under scrutiny as well.

How long are we expected to ignore the obvious here?

[25TH 44] ".... it should no longer be seen as socially acceptable to speak about all adherents to a particular faith in such a derogatory manner."

Meanwhile, you believe, and teach your children, that disbelievers will be burned in hell, and when your god has burned all their flesh from their bones, he'll put it back so he can burn it off again.

[26TH 44] "It began with the murder of three young Americans in Chapel Hill in North Carolina, apparently because of their Muslim faith"

No, it wasn't "apparently because of their Muslim faith". It was because of a parking dispute. America is awash with guns. A man with anger issues and in possession of a gun easily obtained loses it and kills three of those he was having the parking dispute with... who happened to be Muslim.

Using this crime to make your disingenuous point that, somehow, we are all as bad as each other, is just so wrong in so many ways.

.... you're not doing yourself, or your cause, any good with this false equivalence. It makes it seem that you are so desperate to find anything - anything - that shows, 'We can't be that bad, 'cause look, the other lot are doing bad stuff too!', that you are willing to lie to 'prove' it. Quite despicable.

[27TH 44] "The media’s portrayal of Muslims is hugely negative..."

Please explain exactly how the media could report on beheadings, bombings and shootings (carried out by Muslims) in a "positive" light.

[28TH 43] "The media’s portrayal of Muslims is hugely negative and inconsistent"

You can't blame the media, it's only reporting what's going on.

"We must stamp out hatred wherever we see it"

Does this include within your chosen ideology as well?

[29TH 42] I think that your philosophy of human existence is bollocks. I disagree with it radically and fundamentally. I find the repression and violence inherent in it’s ideas expounded by this philosophy repugnant.

I find the expectation that these ideas are to be treated with respect laughable.

[30TH 40] .... the old "Islam means peace" nonsense does not work any more nor does the old excuse about how so many people sadly misunderstand the peaceful verses of the Koran. .... It is time to tell the truth about Islam ....

[31ST 39] We're to take advice on tolerance from the Muslim Council of Britain now? .... well done to "world's leading liberal voice" for giving this .... crank column space. What's next - a series of lectures on community cohesion from Nick Griffin?

[32ND 37] I find this article is both patronising and insulting. The anecdotes of minor and isolated attacks on Islamic buildings does not sit equally with barbaric beheadings, slavery and rape.

Islam, like other religions should not be protected from direct criticism or promoted in schools. The use of the word Islamophobia implies irrational fear of Islam. It isn't irrational fear that motivates many but contempt.

[33RD 36] "The actions of a few do not speak for the beliefs of the many."

I'm sorry, but you're making the same mistake committed by the author of the piece and various religious apologists since the Hebdo attacks. I am not interested in the "look at the many not the few" type of argument[s]; I am focusing on the religion, the ideology.

That being the case the fact that it is intolerant, bigoted, reactionary and violent highlights how incompatible it currently is with western values. The MCB may denounce the acts of violence, but do they condemn the text from which the violence is inspired?

Of course not.

[34TH 33] Things will only get worse if people continue to deny that these attacks have anything to do with Islam. Look we know that people like the Copenhagen killer are not representative of most Muslims, and we know that most Muslims are peaceful, ordinary people, but to say that these attacks by extremist Muslims have nothing to do with their religion is intellectually ludicrous.

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