Dillly Hussain asserts in his latest post that there is a ‘systematic and coordinated effort by the mainstream media to criminalise Islam’. This claim is based on research demonstrating that most stories which mention Muslims do so in a negative context. He then complains about the use of the term ‘moderate Muslim’:
The use of “moderate Muslim” is used in every positive article, and it appears that “moderate Muslims” are conveyed as good for not being “fully Muslim”.
It’s difficult to believe that ‘moderate Muslim’ is used in *every* positive article, and he fails to demonstrate that moderate Muslims are praised for not being fully Muslim. If he wants to take issue with the phrase ‘moderate Muslim’ he could find some support on Harry’s Place. Back in 2005, before Sayeeda Warsi expressed her own concerns, a post questioned the helpfulness of this locution.
Whether it’s women’s dress code, halal meat, support for the Syrian revolution, Ofsted downgrading schools, charities, banning speakers from universities, human rights activists or aid workers, the criminalisation of Islam and Muslims in the British media has increased since Professor Baker’s research. The disproportionate coverage of crimes committed by Muslims in comparison to non-Muslims, and the constant reference to a Muslim’s religion when it has no relevance to a story is also another emerging pattern in recent times, especially after the murder of British soldier, Lee Rigby, in Woolwich last year.
In typically manipulative fashion, Hussain mixes topics which have been hyped up by the tabloids (such as halal food), and concerns which may be reasonable in some cases (identifying a criminal’s religion when it really isn’t relevant) with issues which most certainly deserve scrutiny. It is desperate to pretend that there were not serious problems in some Birmingham schools, for example. This is pretty desperate too:
The killers of soldier Lee Rigby said their motives were to do with UK foreign policy.
And it’s a bit rich for Dilly Hussain to go on to complain that anti-terror laws ‘contravene some of the most basic human rights’ when his own views are so very dubious. He describes iERA as ‘mainstream’. If this is true, it is also unfortunate, for the views of iERA speakers are extreme, and they demonstrate very little regard for human rights. They have, as Hussain reports, challenged Gilligan to define extremism – for most of us, though perhaps not Dilly Hussain, approving the death penalty for homosexual acts and apostasy might form part of such a definition.
Nevertheless, British Muslims should continue challenging the government and the media without hesitation on its definition of “British values” and “extremism” – terms which have become political yardsticks to censor and criminalise established Islamic beliefs.
And here (not for the first time) is the crux of the matter. What does he mean by ‘established Islamic beliefs’? Hussain is exploiting the just concern felt by many, Muslim and non-Muslim, at some reporting in the tabloids (and indeed perhaps some reporting in the Telegraph and Spectator too) in order to intimidate those of us (perhaps particularly those of us who happen to be Muslim) who want to campaign against illiberal beliefs and practices which some Muslims see as an integral part of Islam.
When Chris Moos recently asked Hussain a perfectly clear question:
@DillyHussain88 Millions of Muslims speak for themselves. Since u called me “intolerant”, what’s ur view on stoning in an ‘Islamic state’?
Hussain took refuge in flip deflection:
@ChrisMoos_ whoever gets caught “stoned” in an ‘Islamic State’ will probably have time to sober up then repent. :)
But people are becoming increasingly wise to the tactics of Dilly Hussain, and realise that going along with his definition of Islamophobia (which is as monstrously inflated as his ego) means implicit acceptance of views which represent an assault on liberal values.