When Will We Start Talking Seriously About Britain’s Far-Right Hate Preachers?

Published June 20th, 2017 - 09:49 GMT
Only weeks before the attack, Robinson released a video in which he warned that "militias will be set up" to "clean out this Islamic problem". (twitter)
Only weeks before the attack, Robinson released a video in which he warned that "militias will be set up" to "clean out this Islamic problem". (twitter)

We need to talk about far-right hate preachers who are inciting violence against minority groups in British society.

For British Muslims, however, it has long been clear that the gatekeepers of popular discourse on extremism are all too keen to maintain and fuel a bipolar debate.

Despite rallying against terror and jumping to condemn extremism at every dreaded news flash, key figures on the right and in the right-wing media continue to spew divisive rhetoric that fuels anti-Muslim hatred.

"Before people start aiming hate or threats at me about this revenge attack at your mosque tonight, I've warned for years what you will create," was the response Tommy Robinson, former leader of the far-right English Defence League Hate group, to the van attack that killed one person and injured several others in north London.

 

For this man, who once described white supremacist Anders Breivik as "smart," the atrocity committed against worshippers in north London was a simple act of "revenge" - retribution for the simple crime of being Muslim.

Only weeks before the attack, Robinson released a video in which he warned that "militias will be set up" to "clean out this Islamic problem".

The video has now resurfaced and many are calling for Robinson to be investigated for incitement.

While Robinson has now settled on Twitter as his main platform for spewing hate, he has in the past been fed the oxygen of publicity by national broadcasters like the BBC.

To perfect the stage show of extremes, broadcasters have often counterbalanced Robinson's far-right agenda with the presence of comprador Muslim extremism 'experts' - including the likes of Maajid Nawaaz of the Quilliam Foundation and Sara Khan - who peddle a similar narrative as the far right about British Muslims.

Both parties sell a narrative that extremism is rife in the Muslim community and that Islam itself is in need of a liberal reform. This portrayal of British Muslims, quite conveniently, is sold for the price of generous government funding.

For this reason, Qulliam and co are detested within Britain's Muslim communities - something that journalist Mehdi Hasan aptly pointed out to Nawaaz in person while on a BBC Newsnight debate.

 

Earlier this month, the BBC also provided a platform for prominent Islamophobe and Henry Jackson Society associate director, Douglas Murray who said "less Islam" is the solution to Britain's terrorism woes.

A discussion of Britain's hate-preaching elite would also be incomplete without mention of Katie Hopkins, who recently lost her job at LBC radio for calling for a "final solution" to extremism.

Hopkins lost her radio job for referencing a term coined by the Nazis in relation to the Holocaust, but Sunday's attack may sadly indicate that her hateful rallying call has been heeded.
 
Her reaction to the Finsbury Park terror attack was to post a video of a London police officer being attacked by a man who she alleged shouted "Allah Akbar".

Unfortunately for Hopkins and her followers, the prospect that their eagerly-awaited clash of civilisations had broken out on London's street was swiftly refuted by another Twitter user, who pointed out that the man was speaking in Romanian, not Arabic.

Nonetheless, Hopkins remains at liberty to spew her divisive rhetoric at the Daily Mail - a newspaper that reported Sunday night's attack by alleging that the mosque was linked to extremists.

Undoubtedly, the relentless tide of Islamophobic headlines and frontpages of papers like the Mail has paved the way for hate attacks like that perpetrated in Finsbury Park.

Indeed, visually compiling the frontpages of newspapers like The Sun, The Daily Mail and The Daily Express - as some social media users have done - produces a mosaic of thinly-veiled muslim hatred.

Britain's Muslims are wearied from challenging the stoking of community tensions by the tabloid and right-leaning press.

Without political clout and a gross lack of representation in the mainstream media, opening this serious discussion has been an uphill struggle.

For now, celebrities and sections of the UK's commentariat have spoken out against radicalisation by the right-wing media.

This dialogue needs to be sustained, not forgotten once the police cordons are cut and the victims are rested.


Copyright @ 2019 The New Arab.

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