In the grip of panic

“The rightwing press is in the grip of a moral panic, constantly serving up new theories to shore up the now familiar thesis that the west and Islam are locked in a clash of civilisations. Admittedly events in the world don’t help. Palestinian suicide bombing, the school siege at Beslan and beheadings in Iraq all fuel the image of an Islamism that shows no mercy.

“British Muslims have got caught up in this and it is affecting their lives, here in this country. For they stand accused – explicitly by the British National party, tacitly by more respectable others – of being a fifth column, a homegrown wing of a global movement bent on terrorising the west.”

Jonathan Freedland in the Guardian, 22 January 2005