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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Islamophobia spreads from lunatic fringe wingnuts to the media

Let us be clear: The person who carries prime responsibility for the attack outside a mosque in Finsbury Park is the man who chose to drive a van into a crowd of people. But just as we should ask what ideas, ideologies, and events motivated Khalid Masood to drive his car into a crowd on Westminster Bridge, or Salman Ramadan Abedi to blow up children at a concert in Manchester, or Khuram Butt and his associates to carry out their disgusting attack on London Bridge, we should also ask what may have contributed to last night’s attack in Finsbury Park.
The key here is that the attacker is said to have shouted: “I want to kill all Muslims.” He didn’t shout: “I want to kill Muslim terrorists,” nor did he want to kill the perpetrators of the recent spate of Islamist terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to kill “all” Muslims. This is what happens when we foster a climate of collective responsibility, when a whole community is held responsible for the actions of an individual.
Despite Britain’s Muslim community being best understood as a hugely diverse “community of communities,” all too-often anti-Muslim activists and even mainstream media outlets homogenize the community into a single monolithic block, often characterized by its most extreme and violent elements.
Just as Islamists rationalize their murder by homogenizing “the West” or non-Muslims as “the enemy,” anti-Muslim activists legitimize their Islamophobia by holding a fictionalized and caricatured Muslim “community” collectively responsible for the actions of a tiny minority of Muslims.

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