Iraq

A narrative of victimhood

HP reader, Eve Wilson, responds to my article on Muslim suffering here

We are witnesses to a narrative of victimhood. This narrative of victimhood is primarily male and Muslim. It sees nothing positive in the attitude of outsiders to Islam. It has no desire to engage with and change those attitudes. It is utterly negative.

– A victim is not the author of his own situation. A victim is powerless. A victim is without responsibility – responsibility lies elsewhere.

– A victim does not look to those elements of his situation that are within his own control, or draw on his own strengths.

– A victim does not generally seek to communicate with those he sees as responsible for his situation.

– Victimhood is corrosive, morally and politically.

How to challenge the politics of victimhood? Here are some thoughts:

– For every politician within Asian communities promoting the narrative of victimhood, there ought to be another who challenges it forcefully. This must include challenging the power of the imams by disputing why religious affiliation should be a primary identity for young Asian men. This is the elephant in the room.

– The political alternative should present itself as a politics of empowerment and engagement, for young people in particular. Government may have a role to play by resourcing alternative power centres outside the mosques.

– Those of us who are outside the Asian communities should give every encouragement to progressive forces within those communities. This is especially important when so much of Left and liberal opinion is backing the wrong side.

– We should be demanding that the Government distance itself from politicians who promote the narrative of victimhood within Asian communities. The Government should cease to privilege Muslim identity and Muslim clerics. Unfortunately, this Government has a great deal invested in its relations with Muslim clerics and their apologists, although that may be changing.

– There must be a concerted effort to counter the selective propaganda of victimhood.

– Schools should teach that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are a forgery. A high profile prosecution might be a good thing, provided it was successful.

– The vision and motives of Osama bin Laden, as set out in his own speeches, should be widely publicised.

– The BBC and the press must be constantly called to account.

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