Monday, 15 February 2016

The Independent UK is wrong on Cologne Sex Attacks

You may have encountered this article in The Independent claiming only three of the people under investigation for the Cologne sex attacks on New Years Eve were recent refugees from The Middle East and North Africa.

However, The Associated Press reported Cologne prosecutor Ulrich Bremer telling them that the the majority of suspects are asylum seekers, describing recent reports of only three of the suspects as refugees as "total nonsense."  However, Bremer did tell The Local that he couldn't give specific figures as to how many were refugees and how many were illegal immigrants. Only revealing that the majority of suspects arrived in Germany in last year and they come from countries such as Morocco, Algeria and Iraq. The Independents error was that they misintepreted comments given by Bremer in an article by German newspaper Die Welt which at no point does he give numbers on the asylum status of individual suspects.

It was very interesting to observe media sites like Huffington Post, Metro and Russia Today run with this story since it supports their predisposition to idealize the refugees and ignore any faults or imperfections that may be among them.

With this in mind, I will address this article in the same site by a serial merchant in dishonesty, Nabila Ramdani. She seems to suggest that concern about the problem of sex crimes among recent migrants into Europe, most of whom are of Middle Eastern and North African stock, therefore means you are playing into the agenda of Neo-Nazis.

In all fairness to Nabila, she calls out far-right propaganda that do otherise and generalize all refugees as rapists or foreign, Muslim, sexual creatures thirsty for native European women. Moreover, their selective outrage in being champions of women's rights; They'll fly the flag of feminism if European women are attacked by Muslims, but say nothing if the same crime is perpetrated by non Muslims . That's good. And yes she is absolutely correct in saying "Brown men are not inherently more misogynistic or brutal than white men, and Muslims are just as likely to be family-orientated, peaceful citizens as their counterparts from other religious and cultural heritages." The problem is she mixes this up with deflection and denialism.

Firstly, she makes a small, yet critical error. She claims Pegida are a "Neo Nazi" organisation. Whatever your opinion of Pegida, (and I am not a fan by any means) a reasonable person has to admit this claim is false. Pegida's ideology is not Neo-Nazism, they don't have Nazi imagery or portraits of Hitler at their rallies. In fact they actively try to keep out Nazis from their rallies because they know it will hurt their image therefore it is disingenous to say they are Neo-Nazis. Amongst other things this is just lazy journalism.

Let me be clear, this is not to say Pegida are not a problematic group, they are. Neither to say they don't evoke bigotry, they do. My point is in order to defeat one's enemies you have to know them,  understand them and be truthful about what they believe. Hurling slurs like 'Neo-Nazi' when it is inaccurate only serves to debase the term of any meaning.

Secondly, she is using false information to support her argument. She claims Ulrich Bremer told her that, "of the 59 suspects pinpointed so far, just four are from war-torn countries (Syria and Iraq)."this is false, because as I have demonstrated previously, the majority of suspects fall under the general category of refugee.

When Raheem Kassam of Brietbart (Yes, I know its Brietbart) tried to confront Nabila on Twitter on the false information she used. She quickly rebutted by throwing ad hominems at him, thus avoiding his point which is correct, as I have demonstrated earlier with Ulrich Bremers remarks. Will Nabila call him a Neo-Nazi?

Thirdly, She underestimates the problem of sex crimes committed by migrants/refugees of a muslim background or sex crimes amongst the Muslim communities in Western socities. She completely focuses on Cologne, yet ignores there were other similar incidents in other European countries like: Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and other cities in Germany, all done by migrants. Ignoring this; implying concern about this trend is "racism" is unwise . On a side note, I dont think this is a religious issue, it is more cultural in my opinion, or at the very least there is a cultural element.

I understand the discussion around migrants and refugees in Europe is awkward, complicated and sadly, increasingly more toxic. Moreover, I understand the far-right and the anti-immigrant brigade will use the increasing suspicion in addition to mistrust of refugees as a platform to lauch their anti-immigrant propaganda. Of course, I oppose those cultural jerks. Their idea that any amount of people of a Muslim background - no matter their individual beliefs- will all of a sudden destroy European Christian identity, therby making Europe into Eurabia. Nevertheless, you have to be factual, distorting facts is not the answer even if it is uncomfortable. We cannot deal with the problem if we don't know the truth.

I do hope the media sites that did run the original story would correct their mistakes.

If you wish, here is my piece on how to address the Cologne attacks, plus the wider phenomenom of sex crimes committed by migrants without falling into Denialism or Bigotry.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Is The Special One right for Old Trafford?

The Special One to Old Trafford. I honestly never thought this could actually become a possibility, since all previous links throughout the years were mere crazed tabloid speculation. This time the speculation seems legitimate, with the BBC first reporting a week ago that Mourinho was 'in talks' with United over replacing Louis Van Gaal. However, Sky sources understand Manchester United are happy with Van Gaal as the manager and plan on allowing him to complete his three year contract that he signed in 2014.

For the purpose of this article, I am working under the assumption Louis Van Gaal will leave in the summer and Mourinho will be brought in as his replacement. This is not confirmed by any means but the current press speculation is so heavy especially with The Independent reporting that a deal has been agreed 'in principle'. In addition, there was reports of a 'dossier' authored by Mourinho sent to Manchester United outlining his plans for the club. It is fair to assume there has to be some truth to it.

His appointment would be a show stopper, a good response to Manchester City landing Pep Guardiola as thier new manager. But, it could also reveal the United board are a little desperate as they really want United to be back challenging for trophies once again, not scraping for 4th place. Secondly, they do not want to fall behind rivals City. Thirdly, it shows that the last three years with two new managers, all the money on transfers has been wasted.

Van Gaal's appointement in 2014 made it abundantly clear that United's medium to long term future was being considered. Presumably, the plan was Van Gaal would stabalise the club after the disatarous 2013-14 season under David Moyes, then his successor will be there for the long term whether Giggs or someone else. Nevertheless, this plan has not worked out, United have barely improved under Louis Van Gaal despite the fact he has spent over £200 million on players. They are nowhere near challenging for the title, instead they are struggling for 4th place which for Manchester United standards is nowhere good enough.

The problem I have with the potential Mourinho appointment now is, it vindicates what the critics of United claimed and what United fans feared would happen in the Post-Ferguson era. United will be like any other club, stuck in a conveyor belt of manager after manager, each one failing to meet expectations. Instead of being the club that did things differently; giving managers a chance, looking long term and putting its identity, tradition and history over the money, greed and corporatism that currently corrupts Football.

There would be positives to Mourinho taking the helm at Old Trafford. I have no doubt that United will get immidiate, short term success under Mourinho, he has a proven track record that is undeniable. He previously won silverware, domestically and in Europe, for FC Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, his CV is impeccable which is why he is one of the most successful managers of his generation. Also, his presence will will lift the club and the fans into some much needed positivity, after a poor season where United are likely to miss out on a Champions league spot.

Nevetheless, we better be ready for the baggage and drama that comes with him. His recent spell at Chelsea with the sheer volume and variety of drama is going to be a cautionary tale for the United board. From the Eva Carneiro saga to Diego Costa and his angry bib removal, there has barely been a week of this season in which Mourinho did not prominently and negatively feature in the media. Old Trafford will be turned into a circus, a very intense one, given the forensic level of coverage paid by the media. We have to ask ourselves, will it be worth it?

Likewise, his preferred style of play is not suited for United's ideals; using homegrown talent and playing lightening quick, attractive, attacking football. Mourinho is notorious, particularly during his first tenure at Chelsea and Inter Milan for grinding out 1-0 results, playing a more cautious game or 'parking the bus' as its popularly referred to as.

However, in recent years Mourinho has proven he can be a little adpatable and play a more attacked minded game. His Real Madrid side with superstars like Ronaldo could easily beat any team 4-0. Moreover, for the first half of last season, Chelsea played some nice football, with Hazard and Fabregas at their skillful, silky best. So maybe, just maybe, Mourinho will adapt slightly for the fans exepectations for how Manchester United should play.

Overall, despite his faults and the criticism he endures, I really like Mourinho. Not so much his preferred style of football but his mystique, the charisma, the unorthodox personality, his memorable quotes and so forth. A little like Sir Alex. In spite of this, we must acknowledge that after the train wreck of Moyes and the inconsistency of Van Gaal, this has to be right. Manchester United is at a turning point in its long, eventful history. We are three seasons where we have have mounted a serious challenge for the title, nowhere close as a matter of fact. United have to start gaining ground soon or else it will fall behind its rivals, if we don't then we could experience a silverware drought that Liverpool experienced during their decline after their last title win in 1990. Or to use an example closer to home United could see a repeat of history where it could go into a coma post-Ferguson in a similar manner to how it went dormant post-Busby. Mourinho would be our last chance to resusetate ourselves from this coma we currently find ourselves sinking into.

Whether the special one would be right for this special club is yet to be seen. If he did come, two things would be certain. Firstly, things would get way more interesting at Old Trafford. Secondly, his appointment would bring more questions than answers.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

An Assessment of the PEGIDA UK rally

On a rainy Saturday 6th February, Pegida UK launched its inaugural demonstration in Birmingham, with similar rallies happening across Europe. An estimated 200 protesters attended the demonstration, which took place on a barren industrial estate miles from the city centre.

The march was peaceful and went smoothly without incident. No thugs, no fights, no Nazis, no inflammatory speeches. However, the rallies in other European countries did see some trouble with a fight in Dublin and some arrests in Calais.

The new Pegida UK was keen to dispel allegations of racism or of being the EDL 2.0 but without the booze.  They placed warnings on pre-protest information, saying Neo Nazis would not be accepted at the demonstration. Likewise, Tommy Robinson in his speech talked about meeting a man with swastika tattoo on his finger on Friday night, and then said (in an obviously frustrated voice): “six years on and I’m still having to tell you: if you’re a Nazi, if you’re a racist, and you’re watching this – you’re not welcome on the streets in the UK with us."

Moreover, the people who attended the demonstration were not a singular, unitary, monolithic bloc.  One protester NOTA Network interviewed said he came because he was worried about English identity and culture being threatened by Islam. Another one said he was not against "all immigration" but wanted "limited immigration". And another protester said he was here to "defend free speech". It would be slightly unwise to arrogantly dismiss them all as racists and xenophobes, though that doesn't mean they were liberal democrats either.
There was not anything that struck me as worryingly racist in the interviews we did or at the rally generally. I say this as a black man who was with my friend Sam Sholli, who is of Iranian stock. We did not feel like we were in danger or anyone was racist towards us. They just seem to be people that are fed up with a status quo that is not working for them and their communities.

Their claim to being a multi-racial movement is questionable, because aside from me and Sam Sholli (my NOTA Network colleague) there was only one other non-white person at the rally. So they do still have that obstacle to overcome where ethnic minorities would feel comfortable associating themselves with Pegida UK. I doubt this this will change anytime soon.

Yes, there was no racism (at least in its common understanding). BUT.....

That doesn't quite get them off the hook. There were still illiberal sentiments present at the rally. For example, many protesters held placards featuring Donald Trump's image saying 'Trump is right'. This possibly is an implicit endorsement of the hopeful presidential nominee's call to halt all Muslim immigration into the United States. If this is the case then this is simplistic and objectively bigoted, because it views Muslims as a monolithic bloc who all think in the same way. There were other sorts of unsophisticated propaganda, like other placards saying 'Rape culture is being imported' and 'Islamism = Nazism'.

Beforehand, NOTA Network interviewed the Pegida UK leadership; Tommy Robinson, Anne Marie Waters and Paul Weston. Tommy surprisingly was open to the idea of creating a buffer zone in Syria in order to keep Syrian refugees safe. But he was not in favour of military intervention in Syria against the Assad regime. He also said he wanted British embassies in the Middle East to give women and children fleeing a chance to leave. However, he would not extend this to young men because he feels "they should be fighting".
Weston was asked whether he would stand by previous comments where he suggests Muslims should be banned from public office. He defended his comments. When he was asked if this would even apply to liberal Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, he stood by his comments again even as he admitted it was "discriminatory", because he felt it would be for the "greater good". This is clearly an illiberal, bigoted, anti-democratic belief contradicting the very values Pegida UK is claiming to defend.

Anne Marie Waters was asked for her opinion on Weston's views on Muslims not being allowed to hold public office, something which is not believed to be Tommy's position. Her slippery, cowardly reply was "that's Paul's opinion....I don't agree with it, but I don't passionately disagree with it...I don't have an opinion, I never thought about it, I will now."  The fact she couldn't give a clear answer to what was a very fair question is telling.

The above picture shows a speaker who has been ignored by mainstream media outlets, like The Guardian, Telegraph and Huffington Post. This is telling given that he asked the media not to "edit me out" and to "report this fairly". His name is Mohammed Fiaz, an ex Muslim, Christian. He was very keen to defend Tommy Robinson and Pegida UK from accusations of racism, though he weirdly claimed that if you call Tommy or Pegida far-right you are playing into the hands of "the Muslims". He even asked the rain-soaked crowd to raise their hands if they were far-right or anti-Asian. As expected, no one raised their hands. Mohammed then told the tragic story of a friend, a fellow apostate who was hated, had his knee smashed and his kids spat at by a neighboring Muslim family when they found out he was an apostate.
Tommy Robinson claimed that a "seed has been planted" with the inaugural protest that could grow into a worldwide, popular protest movement, mobilising against the 'Islamisation' of Western civilisation. Likewise, Paul Weston felt they would be able to muster "100,000 people" for a future protest. Not going to happen. Despite the tense atmosphere currently engulfing Europe and even if a 9/11 style terrorist attack were to happen again, I really doubt Pegida UK would be able to get 100,000 people to attend a rally of theirs. 10,000 is possible but nowhere near 100,000.

Above all, while Pegida UK are clearly not Neo-Nazis and it's a good thing that  they try a peaceful methodology and don't have that hooligan aura that the EDL had. However, the fact that the three leaders cannot agree on something as simple as whether a Muslim can run for public office does weaken their claim to be defending liberal democracy, as Weston's suggestion is plainly anti-democratic and bigoted. 
Likewise, the endorsement of Donald Trump's illiberal views and defending of 'Christian culture' also is not going to win them many friends in the mainstream. They don't have an ideology or a positive alternative worldview to present to oppose the status quo. They are just an unguided, incoherent, reaction to the very real problem of Islamism and a residue of Cologne. Despite the fact Tommy Robinson wants to start anew, I believe the already tainted brand of Pegida will be a detriment, not a help to him.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

No Need to Fetishize The Kurds in order to bash Arabs

If you follow current events in Syria and Iraq, you may have come across the phenomenom of the Klashnikov-clad ‘jihadi bride. Who flocking from a city near you are seeking to repopulate and help build a dystopic, totalitarian, imperialist, super state "The Islamic State" that in their view will be the vanguard of the Muslim world to 'libertate' them from Western domination.

In complete contrast, we encounter their polar opposite, the female fighters of the Kurdish resistance who exemplify a far better display of female strength than the nihilistic, pin up stars of ISIS. They have rightly been glorified as heroines. Of course, there has been some sensationalism, where you always get the pin up star who is alleged to have killed a innumerable amount of ISIS fighters. Nontheless, it isn't that hard to feel a certain amount of satisfaction (dare I say pleasure) in seeing these fighters liberate areas controlled by ISIS.

However, some have pointed out that these Kurdish women have been fetishized by some people in the West into orientalist tropes for their own cynical reasons, not out of any geniuine solidarity with the Kurdish people and their struggle.

This Kurdi-fetishism knows no bounds. We encounter two types of this phenomenom, one is the more misguided leftist tendancy, which sometimes fethishizes revolutionaries that are not white and will ignore their failings. Yes, even the PYD has its flaws. The other is right wing, which uses the Kurdish struggle as a pretext to express their hatred towards Arabs and Muslims. Interestingly, there are occasions when the two do intersect.

However, for the purpose of this post I will focus mostly on the right wing (more like extreme right wing judging by the meme below), anti-Arab fetishization.

Notice the Black Sun symbol with an odal rune (used by the Waffen SS) in the middle of it. These are well known Neo-Nazi symbols. This ridiculous propaganda is being used by Nazis now to attack Syrian and Iraqi refugees, some of whom are Kurdish, by the way. Unfortunately, there are even documented cases of Kurdish refugees drowning in the Aegean Sea on their way to reach safety in Greece. These same Kurdish refugees are the same people which these Fascist scum despise with a passion and portray as "Muslim invaders" threatening White, European, Christian identity.

If people wonder why the majority of refugees from the Middle East come from Syria, it's because the Assad regime, backed by Iran and Russia are using their aerial capabilities to ethnically cleanse areas of Syria, liberated from the Assad regime's control, as a matter of policy. In the last few months, during Russia's attacks on Aleppo, 40,000 people fled. Moreover, Russia's recent attack on Daraa province, according to rebel media has displaced as many as 150,000 Syrians.

Some of those fleeing are Syrian Kurds, of course, some of them live in the same neighbourhoods as Syrian Arabs. In the Kurdish-majority areas of Northeastern Syria, they've never faced aerial bombardment from any force, while their Arab Muslim brethren have faced bombs daily in Aleppo, Homs, Hama, Idlib etc. Likwise, when ISIS attacked Kobane in 2014, the entire civilian population rightfully fled to Turkey.

Make no mistake about it - the intent of this meme is to spread anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry. Aside from the extremely creepy fetishization of Kurdish women, it has entered into the popular consciousness that Kurds are somehow all these ultra-secular, counter-Islamic, super human, noble savages.

They're not noble savages. The majority of them are Sunni Muslims, some of whom are quite religious, others barely religious and many in between. They're just people. Many members of secular Kurdish groups such as the PKK and PYD are practicing Muslims; who pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, read the Qu'ran, go to the mosque etc. Likewise, many women in the YPJ wear the hijab, not just the traditional Kurdish headscarf, while at the same time supporting the radical, progressive, socialist, ultra feminist values the PYD embodies. The irony is, their ideology is the total antithesis of the anti Muslim's backward, orientalist, worldview of the Neo Nazi producers of the meme.

As for the cheap shot about Syrian/Iraqi Arab men being cowards. It goes to show their ignorance, because there are many men who do stay in Syria and fight in order to overthrow the Assad regime, but it also shows the lack of empathy they have. The men who are fleeing are sensible. Most have essentially three choices other than escape: join a murderous dictator's army; join ISIS' death squads; or die, most likely in an excrutiating manner. I know which option I'd take if I was in their shoes.

These Nazi scum will never know what it's like to be a Syrian or Iraqi, whether rebel or refugee, and will never understand the horrors visited upon these poor people. The fact that this obscene propaganda is reproduced fairly regularly on social media rather telling of how worrying this rising anti-Arab/Muslim sentiment disguising itself as "pro-Kurd" or "anti-ISIS" has become.

For all anecdotes are worth, I have spoken to the few Kurdish comrades (male and female) that I do know, they tell me that they don't like this weird fetishization of Kurdish female fighters which they regard as an insult. They do not see it as flattery.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with supporting the Kurds, just because you support the Kurdish struggle doesn't automatically make you an anti-Arab racist or an anti-Muslim bigot, obviosly. I have always supported them and always will. However, acknowledge the Kurds for who they are, their history, struggle and appreciate the various contradictions and antagonisms in Kurdish society and culture.

Please guard against the impulse to mystify Kurdish women who happen to be adept with an AK-47, so that you can use them as a vehicle to promote an anti Arab or anti Muslim agenda. It shows indifference to the suffering of Syrians and their revolution against the murderous Assad regime and is disrespectful to the Kurdish people, who also have had to sacrifice alot to fight for their rights. This is not solidarity, it is exploitation.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Critics of Islam should call out Anti Muslim Bigotry

 "No idea is above scrutiny 
and no people are beneath dignity" - Maajid Nawaz

We live in turbulent and scary times.

The forces of Jihadism are running riot all around the world, spreading murder and mayhem in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Indonesia, Nigeria and France. This coinciding with the recent, but worrying trend of endemic sexual violence all across Europe commited by migrants/refugees coming into Europe mostly from the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa.

This has made tragedy of the refugee crisis and dealing with the issues that come with unprecedented levels of international migration even more diffcult, because if you don't engage in denialism, you are apparently a "Proto-Fascist" or an "Orientalist". While, if you don't buy into the hysterical, bigoted narratives of the anti-immigrant right then you are labelled a "regressive", "far left", "Islamophile" etc. As I've argued previously, Denialism and Bigotry are not the only choices.

The response of the political class has been abysmal, the left engages in apologia and withdrawal, refusing to accept facts that shatters the ideological windshield. Far-right nationalists cynically capitalise on this by playing on people's understandable fears and worries to dictate the general terms of the debate.

With this in mind, we should all be disturbed by the recent rise in anti Muslim bigotry, specifically it's increasing intrusion into mainstream discourse. A growing number of 'pundits' (In reality, they are disingenous disinformants) willfully a blurring the line between Islamism and Islam and the line between Islam and Muslims. The result of this could, if we are not careful, have devastating consequences, particularly in Europe. 

According to TellMama UK, an organisation which measures anti Muslim abuse, both vebal and physical, attacks against British Muslims jumped by 275 percent in the period after the Paris attacks- with the majority perpetrated against women since they are more "visibly muslim" with their hijabs. Likewise such attacks have also increased in France, the United States, Canada  and in Stockholm where masked, Fascist thugs physically assaulted refugees at the railway station with brass knuckledusters.

I realise many critics of Islam are a little sensitive when it comes to "Islamophobia", for good reason too. In many cases Regressives and Islamist apologists have hurled the label "Islamophobe", "bigot", "racist" and other such terms in a very cynical and calculated manner at anyone who makes a criticism of the religion of Islam that they disapprove of. From this, critics of Islam may be a little apprehensive about people who do talk about anti Muslim bigotry. Thinking there could be some shadiness to this, since its been abused so many times before, are they just bringing this up to deflect from the problem and smear people unneccessarily?

So allow me to do some introductory throat clearing to eliminate any confusion and make my stance absolutely clear.

As an Atheist, and an Anti-theist, I have absolutely no sympathy for Islam, or any religion for that matter. Not only do I believe it to be false but also pernicious for fossilising and giving the divine seal of approval to various regressive, and rather cruel social customs of 7th century Arabia which are clearly invalid for the 21st century. I also believe we should be relentless and merciless in our critique of it, just like we do with any idea. Ultimately, if the Qu'ran is meant to be the literal, perfect word of Allah, then I think Allah must have forgotten to take his pills. You can sense this just by reading the Qu'ran for yourself.

Additionally, "Islamophobia" is a vapid propaganda term as it is very broad and often conflates legitimate criticism of Islam with bigotry towards Muslims, especially since Islamophobia is often defined by its promoters as "hatred towards Islam and Muslims". As Christopher Hitchens once put it, "Islamophobia — has been put into circulation to try and suggest that a foul prejudice lurks behind any misgivings about Islam’s infallible ‘message.’"

When it comes to criticizing ideas, nothing should be off limits and no idea should get a free pass from critique because it might ‘offend’ someone. ‘Islamophobe!’ is too often trotted out as a tactic to silence people you disagree with. In a increasingly diverse and interconnected world, where different and often opposing beliefs are held with deep conviction, conflict is unavoidable, this is neccessary, in fact, desirable for the modern world because with conflict comes progress.

Clearly, being criticial of Islam or Muslims does not automatically make you a bigot.

So,when does criticism of Islam become anti-muslim bigotry? It is when criticism morphs into bigotry or prejudice against muslims or those percieved to be muslims; or when critics advocate policies that would deny muslims equal rights under the law, or demand muslims be arbitraly discriminated against simply because they have a Muslim background. To put it simply. Anti Muslim bigots are those who arbitrarily despise, distrust, hate and/or fear Muslims in general.

It is for this reason I feel it is an ethical duty of people who label themselves Liberals or Leftists that they should oppose discrimination against Muslims in the public sphere: from discriminatory policing and immigration laws that specifically target Muslims for no good reason, to planning regulations that make it more difficult to build mosques than other similar buildings or restrictions on the ability of Muslims to worship merely because they happen to be Muslims.

Absolutely, I have nothing but antipathy to regressive jerks and Islamist propagandists who overexaggerate the extent of anti-muslim bigotry, who use it as a political weapon to shut down honest discussion on Islamism, who use it as a false diagnosis for why Western Muslims join Jihadist organisations. Writing hysterical, borderline conspiratorial pieces on an 'Islamophobia industry' created and maintained by the neocon/Zionist establishment in order to oppress Muslims.

Nontheless, we must understand that anti-muslim bigotry is a problem that must be fought. To deny or downplay this is to put an intellectual blindfold on yourself, thereby deny reality. It is not uncommon, for example, to hear women in hijabs say they feel a little anxious about walking in public, as they are the most visible representation of Islam in public. This not only affects Muslims as sadly, Sikhs have also suffered hate crimes for being mistaken for Muslims. Standing up to this injustice doesn't mean you are a ‘regressive’ or an apologist for fundamentalism.

We are now at a stage where we have the prominent U.S presidential candidate Donald Trump calling for Muslim citizens of the United States to have their information put into special databases and a complete ban on Muslim immigrants entering the United States. This is not merely flirting with Fascism, this is Fascism. Moreover, similar sentiments have been expressed by the ultra-nationalist, anti immigrant right who are currently gaining ground in Europe in the aftermath of the Cologne sex attacks. This can no longer be dismissed as the ramblings of fringe nutcases. It is now serious, because these troubling attitudes have now entered the mainstream in a way it wouldn't have ten years ago.This is best shown by the fact that 25 percent of Americans support Trump's ludicrous idea to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Albeit it is a minority (thankfully) but it is still worrying that a quater of Americans support it.

Above all, it seems wise to the rational person that we should care about anti muslim bigotry; not just out of principle, but also because it disarms the apologists of their claim that they are the only ones who care about bigotry while the critics are apathetic.

I advise fellow critics of Islam, if you are believers in secular humanism and you oppose Islam for that reason, then you should once in a while address anti-Muslim bigotry and criticise those who espouse it. To not do this is cowardice. Something as simple as just tweeting (or retweeting, even easier) an article about it on Twitter, or criticising the entrepeneurs of panic can go a long way.

This is not about deflecting or ignoring the problem, nor is this about imposing a sort of of quota on your public expressions, where for every criticism of Islam you have to have something on anti-Muslim bigotry. This is about defending secular, enlightenment values. The far-right with their proposed 'solutions' to Islamism, in addition to their general politics are also a threat to the west and its values especially if they ever hold political power.

Image Source: International Business Times