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Quote of the day. Sarka from Harry’s Place

October 25, 2013

I recently reblogged from HP about the latest Islamic hate-fest going on in London next month.

While reading the comments I came across this gem of a comment from Sarka.  It is balanced, thoughtful and honest and really makes interesting reading.

Sarka  Aloevera 

Yes, Muslim man plus unrelated non-Muslim woman – though not behaving as a couple.

That episode comes in the Panorama documentary White Flight. If you Google Panorama White Flight you will find it on You Tube (in three parts). It’s an interesting doc that tries to be even-handed. It’ focus is less aggression between communities than their complete separation.

The trouble with this subject of social friction of the kind that the police can do little about (perhaps occasionally, if really pressed, and then more or less symbolically with regard to the whole problem), is that it is largely unquantifiable. It is the realm of highly sensitive assertion and counter-assertion, of anecdote, of gossip, of embarrassment, – it is much harder for anyone to debate halfway as coherently and reasonably civilly as the more overtly political subjects of Islamist radicalism (extremist groups), or the theoretical side of the “compatibility of values” and What is Islam really.

And yet – maybe because I’m a social historian – I think it is still a very key area. For example, it is an article of faith among the complete demonisers of the EDL that the latter represents an interaction between a natural strain of ugly racism in the indigenous white working class and ideological “propaganda” against Muslims from the more educated media sphere (counter-jihadi sites, but also just e.g. peddling of Islamophobic memes by columnists of the DM etc etc.). What is entirely left out is the possibility (which could be additional, not simply alternative), that the everyday level of Muslim behaviour – street level and public space problems other than the strictly reactive to white “racism” – could have anything to do with it.
While actually, Tommy Robinson in a recent interview confirmed what I have always sensed about the EDL, – that it grew, rightly or wrongly, I speak neutrally here – out of street-level social tensions: turf conflict about immediate public space, resentment over the social segregation of Muslim girls, quite often the motif of childhood friendships with Muslims fading in the teens as Muslim boys either voluntarily or under peer pressure rejected non-Muslim relationships etc etc…

This then meant that more over ideological expressions (defence of respect for armed forces, the rather clumsy reaching for the Shariah theme etc.) were rather secondary though important as rallying calls, symbols.

The fact that, of course, there is plenty of genuine, if anecdotal, testimony of people getting on fine with Muslim neighbours – or at the least “never being aware of any social trouble”, makes this hard to discuss because bringing it up is so easily dismissed as alarmist and possibly racist inflammatory talk. There is repetition of the mantra that there is NO real social problem – but only on the extreme Islamist side a security problem (with no real wider social implications except for the vague one about the “alienation of Muslim youth”), and on the non-Muslim side the problem of some xenophobia (also extremist groups).

Rather paradoxically, the low level of monitorable anti-Muslim hate incidents, despite TellMama’ and others best efforts to big them up, can back up this picture of basic social peace and co-existence, as can the fact that the marginally criminal or non-criminal aspects of communal tension are below the radar of police interest and prosecutions.

But how accurate is that picture? I have little idea, except to say that it can’t easily be discussed for further ideological reasons:

1. Discussion of social tension – or at least any input to it by Muslim behaviour as opposed to white xenophobes, automatically implicates “the Muslim in the street” and not just the shadowy radical (if obviously not absolutely all Muslims), and so is easily dismissed as breaking the rule against “stereotyping”.

2. The pathos-filled narrative of the anti-Islamophobes and anti-racists, and their partial success in identifying Islamophobia with antisemitism (their holy grail!), means that examination oft he matter immediately smacks of “victim blaming” After all, only an antisemite would even start to bring up the matter of whether Jewish behaviour contributed to negative views of Jews – well, unless talking of Israel and being careful.

3. More sensibly – given lack of quantitative evidence – it can be pointed out that a bit of such tension is almost always present in multicultural, multi-ethnic conditions (see immigrant social problems, including community antagonisms in the US), but is nothing much to worry about, and always eases up as integration proceeds, so why single out Muslims?

(My own view here is that currently Muslims both in terms of scale of presence and degree of separatist sentiment are rather exceptional, and that ongoing integration cannot be taken for granted – but it’s hard to argue the point with those who just flat deny such propositions).

All this makes it surpassingly hard to bring up the issue of ( social) reciprocity in response to complaints from Muslims about hatred, or discrimination, or just misunderstanding of needs and reasonable (multi)cultural entitlements.

And all the harder because at bottom, what the majority population in European countries with large concentrations of Muslim dislikes about Muslims generally (though they may have no problem with individual Muslims), is that Muslims tend to have an antagonistic ethos – they express not only neediness, but resentment, hauteur, hostility, contempt, for non-Muslims – and do so on quite a routine social basis, including in all kinds of non-criminal ways…The often patent non-reciprocity of their demands and complaints is yet another way of expressing this ethos! Obviously that’s a wopping generalisation but I think that – again generally – that’s the problem.”

Read the whole thread at: http://hurryupharry.org/2013/10/24/dreadful-at-the-dorchester-jalal-ibn-saeeds-assembly-of-haters/

That’s a first class bit of commenting. There are problems with what Sarka called the ‘antagonistic ethos’ of Islam and the longer we shove these issues under the carpet the worse things will be.

2 Comments
  1. I was wondering, when reading the account of the Italian student beaten up in the East End, if this wasn’t another ‘gay bashing’. Key phrases:

    “Detective Constable Ben Mott said the American was attacked because he was a ‘bit different’…‘The victim has an Italian accent, his own style of dress and mannerisms…

    • Fahrenheit211 permalink

      If it is a gay bashing the the demographics of the area give us a clue to the motivation of said gay bashers. I’ve written before about how Tower Hamlets used to be more laid back and more safe for gay people before the savages started to strut their stuff.

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