Muslims are the New Jews

Antisemitic propaganda, 1936. http://www.ushmm.org

Like Jews in Germany, 1930, European Muslims are in danger. Germany at that point was a country that was too civilized, too great a culture, home of great thinkers and a great history to ever be suspected of an eventual descent into barbarism and animal hate that would result in the death of millions because of their race. Similarly, we assume, according to the cliché, that it ‘can’t happen here’. And in a narrow sense it can’t. But that’s because we only imagine ‘it’ happening to the same victims.

In 1930, when Hitler’s party started having more success, it was riding on a number of factors, but one of them was a rise in anti-semitism. There was a mood, spreading across Europe, of increasing intolerance for Jews as a race. Scapegoating, blatant racist lies (the global Jewish conspiracy, for one), suspicion of their insular culture and the unwillingness of the orthodox to fully integrate into European society all played a part.

From faithfreedom.org

From faithfreedom.org

Can you think of another racio-religious community in Europe that is also suspected, as a group, of plots and conspiracies to destroy our way of life, who are regularly and publicly criticized for failing to integrate culturally, whose insularity and zealous religious fervour are a source of fear and suspicion for even the politically moderate masses?

I’ll give you a clue: it’s not the Swedes.

Last week’s Daily Express ran a huge, front-page headline that demanded that the Muslim Burkha be banned in Britain, as some politicians are seeking in France. Not quite Kristallnacht, I admit, but the fact that there was no general outcry against such a vehemently anti-Muslim statement is telling of our culture’s mood.

The burkha issue is as silly as it is an example of anti-Islamic feeling. Why s

hould Muslim women not be allowed to choose whatever they wish to wear, in order to express their religious convictions? Are the Express (or the rest of the tabloids) brave enough to demand that orthodox Jews cut off their sideburns and take off their hats in order to integrate better into Britain? I didn’t think so. Xenophobes are, by definition,

cowards.

But it’s disconcerting that we can’t see their faces, you say. Diddums. Get over it. This point is made often on radio call-in shows and on internet comment sites, which kinda proves that it is stupid, no?

‘But what about the poor women who are pressured to wear the burkha by their husbands?’ some people ask. And that, I agree, is a terrible thing. And as soon as those champions of women’s rights find ways (or even bother trying) to prevent non-Muslim women from wearing (or, indeed not wearing) clothes in order to please husbands, boyfriends, potential mates or magazine style gurus, I’ll believe that they are motivated by something other than a dislike for Islam.

Am I saying Muslims are in danger of extermination within the decade? No. But as hateful, xenophobic rumours about the horrors of Islam ‘overrunning’ Britain (or France, or Germany) keep being perpetuated, I want you to see the similarity between these rumours (and the much-forwarded emails accompanying them) and those early German films, portraying Jews as vicious, subhuman, greedy and dangerous. I’m pointing this out so that when political decisions (be they to do with limitations on citizenship or wars against Muslim peoples) are made, you will know what you are doing when you do not speak out. So that you cannot say ‘I didn’t know.’

Update: Click here to read a story about the mood of intolerance spilling over.

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