Islamophobia is being used as a form of propaganda in the so-called war on terrorism, according to British peace campaigner Chris Nineham.
“One of the reasons why Islamophobia has become so virulent in the last 10 years in British society and elsewhere is that is used as a way to try to justify the wars the West is fighting against Arabs and Muslims in the Middle East, in Africa and south-east Asia,” said Nineham, a national officer of Stop the War Coalition (SWTC).
“It is a kind of war propaganda in a way really and that is the link,” he said in an interview with IRNA. “It has been no coincidence that in the last decade, Islamophobia has rose because the West is fighting these wars,” he said.
Nineham, who is also a founding member of Enough Coalition against Islamophobia, rejected claims by the British government that they have not encouraged the rapid growth in the hatred against Muslims that has also spread throughout much of Europe.
“Of course, the government do officially deny it, but the fact of the matter is they are engaged in peddling these kind of ideas,” he said.
“Sometimes there are soft versions of it, but they still have a whole series of prejudices about Muslims, which are that Muslims are prone to being violent and terror acts, that Muslims are tempted to being against integration,” the peace activist said. “They have a view of Islam that it is a peculiarly radical religion. All of these prejudices are rife in the establishment. They play their role in shaping the ideas that are circulating in society,” he told IRNA.
“I do think the establishment has been absolutely central in the way of propagating Islamophobia,” said Nineham, who has written widely on the anti-war movement and the anti-capitalist protests as well as on the media, modernism and cultural theory.
On Thursday, Enough Coalition held a conference at the University of London focusing on Islamophobia on campuses after holding an inaugural event on the spread of hatred against Muslims throughout Europe.
Nineham had no doubts that Islamophobia in all its forms, including numerous incidents of Muslims being physically attacked and even killed, was not only an abuse of human rights but an extension of racism. “It is racism. It’s racism dressed up as something else, pretending to be something else. It is pretending to be a cultural critique, pretending to be an assertion of humanism or rationality,” he said. “But really that is just cover to dress up what is a continuity of racism against Arabs and people from south east Asia really.”
“What I want is a coordinated, systematic campaigning both at a level of ideas and action against these ideas (Islamophobia) because I think they are very dangerous,” he said.