Religious hatred is no more than a variety of racism

Soumaya Ghannoushi2“After his acquittal on the charge of inciting racial hatred, Nick Griffin was asked whether he was a racist. He replied that he was no longer one, that he is now a ‘religionist’. But should we believe that Griffin has really abandoned the racism that frames his ideology and that of the party he leads? Of course not. All Griffin has done is stretch from one category of racism to another – without breaking with the former: from a discourse founded on racial hatred to one based on religio-racial hatred.

“In the speech for which he and his assistant, Mark Collett, were taken to court, the two shifted effortlessly from referring to Islam as ‘this wicked, vicious faith’ that ‘has expanded from a handful of cranky lunatics about 1,300 years ago’, to speaking of Asian ‘muggers’, ‘rapists’, ‘bastards’, ‘cockroaches’ and ‘ethnics’ who need to be ‘shown the door’.

“We are witnessing the emergence of a new type of hatred, where religion and culture overlap with race and ethnicity. The climate generated by the war on terror – stoked further by the inflammatory speech on Friday of the MI5 director general Eliza Manningham-Buller –  has allowed the far-right to redirect its poison of exclusionism from specific racial minorities to specific religio-racial minorities: from the black and Asian, to the Muslim black and Asian.”

Soumaya Ghannoushi in the Guardian, 13 November 2006