Clareification controversy

We’ve been remiss in not posting on the Clare College controversy, involving the publication of anti-religious caricatures – including one of the Jyllands-Posten cartoons – in the student magazine Clareification.

In a typically stupid open letter to Clare College, Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society argues that anti-Muslim caricatures can’t be racist because, don’t you see, Muslims are not a race: “We would like to remind all concerned that satirising religion – even if that religion is Islam – is not racism, as this episode has been dubbed. Religion and race have very different characteristics.”

So, according to Sanderson’s warped reasoning, the most vicious Islamophobic propaganda produced by the BNP can’t possibly be racist because it is directed against adherents of a religion – which is, of course, precisely the argument that the fascists themselves use.

See local press coverage here and national coverage here. A correspondent points out that the editor of the magazine is “in hiding without a single threat having being made”.

For a comment on the Clareification controversy, which concedes that the magazine contained “the most vile and unambiguous Islamophobia”, see Constitutional Lore, 13 February 2007