Anti Muslim racism and freedom of expression

antisemitismA dear friend has written to me recently about her worry about the rise of Islam, which, she wrote, is opposed to all the values she holds dear. Ronit, she implored, ’listen to them, to what they want. Look at the mass demonstrations after the Innocence of Muslims film. Look at how they treat women. How come that you, a liberal intellectual, a feminist who fights for equality, cannot understand that you are speaking a language that is no longer relevant? This for me is the main problem of the pacifist intellectual left’.

For a long time now Islam and Muslims have become the main enemy of the West. In the name of ‘protecting our way of life’ the West has gone to bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the name of the ‘war on terror’ Western states racially profile and persecute people of Muslim and Arab appearance everywhere. Although Muslims have definitely reacted violently to racial slurs in recent weeks, I would suggest that the main reason for this racialisation is racism and fear. Fear, as the fascist Dutch politician Geert Wilders warns, of ‘the last stages of the Islamisation of Europe’. A fear called Islamophobia, another way of saying racism against Muslim people. Continue reading “Anti Muslim racism and freedom of expression”

Trapped in the desert

20-migrants-trapped-sept-12Earlier this month, a group of 21 Eritrean asylum seekers, including a pregnant woman and a child of 14, were trapped between the security fences along the Israeli-Egyptian border. Israel refused to examine their asylum applications and mandated the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to guard them. IDF soldiers were under orders not to enable them to receive any food or medical assistance for a whole week, and instructed to provide them with ‘as little water as possible’, despite aid being offered by Israeli human rights organisations.  The tragedy, in full view of the media, ended with the Prime Minister’s Office ignoring a pending Supreme Court ruling and ordering that the men be returned to Egypt, where they are likely to be captured by organ hunters, and the two women and child be put in an Israeli jail. Continue reading “Trapped in the desert”