After Woolwich: The racist backlash

At the time of writing this I’m feeling very angry. Angry that there has been another incident of misguided zeal; angry that the mainstream media appears to make assumptions before establishing the actual facts; and angry that a huge amount of anti-Muslim bigotry seems to be circulating as a result of the murder that took place in Woolwich on 22 May.

Shortly after the incident, a video showing a black man with blood on his hands saying “remove your government from our lands” was broadcast, and racial and religious tensions in the UK escalated further. A number of people were blaming Muslims and Islam before anything had even been confirmed in news reports; while news has just come in that around 100-150 EDL members have gone down to the Woolwich area with the sole intention of rioting and exploiting the situation.

On social networking sites, Muslims and Islam have been tarnished as a whole. For trying to add some perspective, I have also been accused of being “a terrorist sympathizer” and “inhumane” for supposedly protecting the man/men responsible for the killing.

Let it be known, I think today’s attack was truly sickening, and whether the victim was a soldier or not (this is yet to be confirmed), there is absolutely nothing positive about the killing or the motivations behind it. I cannot sympathise with the man/men responsible for the murder, and I absolutely will not, in any way, see it as justifiable.

Even though the Muslim Council of Britain has, too, openly condemned what happened, some of the comments I’ve read in relation to this incident make for some very worrying reading. Pro-Hitler/White power stances seem to be the answer for some, while others not particularly aligned with the EDL are sympathetic towards the group’s Islamophobic tendencies.

On the back of a fake rape story about a year-7 school girl, Tommy Robinson, the EDL’s co-leader, has been quick to attack Islam in an attempt to rally up support against Muslims, whether he considers them “extremists” or not. He said, on Twitter: “EDL has support from all colours and races, sikh Hindu Jewish, gay. Islam poses a threat to all communities. Enough is enough.”

As one journalist said, though, “The real issue here is with extremism and [the EDL] pointing at every news story involving a Muslim and shouting ‘SEE! I TOLD YOU,’ isn’t going to cut it.” Groups like the EDL thrive upon installing fear in the general population, and Woolwich will be yet another incident that the group attempts to exploit for its own benefit alone.

The BBC must go down as one of the main culprits for stirring up the hatred: It was quick to refer to the killing as an “act of terrorism” and put strong emphasis upon the victim’s Help For Heroes t-shirt, long before the police released any hard evidence to the media. BBC News, and indeed other news channels, also stated that the words “Allah Akbar” were shouted prior to the killing, but we are yet to see any proof that this occurred.

While I don’t (and never will) defend the Woolwich killing in any way, the BBC’s hypocrisy is clear: Countless, innocent Muslims have been massacred around the world by western governments in imperialist wars — so why weren’t the journalists so quick to label these “acts of terrorism” as well? It just goes to show the cruelty (still) going on abroad continues to bring repercussions on home soil.

At this point in time, the UK’s mainstream media and various far-right groups want to make us believe that every, single Muslim is out to take away our freedom. The government is the real perpetrator in all of this, and there is a real need for people of all races and religions need to come together, organize and fight back in a productive manner.

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