Guardian: "This tide of anti-Muslim hatred is a threat to us all"
Last month's British Social Attitudes survey found that most people now regard Britain as "deeply divided along religious lines", with hostility to Muslims and Islam far outstripping such attitudes to any other religious group. On the ground that has translated into murders, assaults and attacks on mosques and Muslim institutions – with shamefully little response in politics or the media. Last year, five mosques in Britain were firebombed, from Bishop's Stortford to Cradley Heath, though barely reported in the national press, let alone visited by a government minister to show solidarity.
And now there is a street movement, the English Defence League, directly adopting the officially sanctioned targets of "Islamists" and "extremists" – as well as the "Taliban" and the threat of a "takeover of Islam" – to intimidate and threaten Muslim communities across the country, following the success of the British National party in baiting Muslims above all other ethnic and religious communities.
Of course, anti-Muslim bigotry, the last socially acceptable racism, is often explained away by the London bombings of 2005 and the continuing threat of terror attacks, even though by far the greatest number of what the authorities call "terrorist incidents" in the UK take place in Northern Ireland, while Europol figures show that more than 99% of terrorist attacks in Europe over the past three years were carried out by non-Muslims. And in the last nine months, two of the most serious bomb plot convictions were of far right racists, Neil Lewington and Terence Gavan, who were planning to kill Muslims.
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