Belfast Telegraph

Attacks on Muslims overlooked

By Mohammed Samaana

For once, I have to agree with Britain's far Right: their jobs are at risk of being taken by foreigners. The German group Pegida held its first UK demonstration in Newcastle at the weekend.

Like others on the far Right, Pegida's founder, Lutz Bachmann, has a criminal record, which includes burglaries, cocaine-dealing and assault.

Ironically, he founded his anti-Islamic organisation in Dresden after witnessing a rally by supporters of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which initially adopted a Marxist ideology before switching to libertarian socialism.

He stepped down as Pegida leader after Dresden state prosecutors opened investigations for incitement caused by Lutz's statements and a self-portrait of him posing as Hitler.

Before making its appearance in Britain, Pegida's anti-Islamic demonstrations in Germany inspired Ireland's Islamophobes to organise a protest in Dublin on February 1. Fewer than a dozen people turned up at their event.

Islamophobia, however, is not only manifested in demonstrations; it is also becoming increasingly violent.

Attacks on mosques and women wearing the veil in different Western countries are increasing.

The recent killing of three Muslim students in North Carolina is not the first fatal attack on Muslims. Their families said that the killer repeatedly threatened them.

Like many other attacks on Muslims, the North Carolina shootings didn't get much media coverage.

The media also largely ignored research based on Europol and FBI figures, which showed that religious terrorism accounted for less than 2% and 6% of terror attacks in the EU and the US respectively.

Additionally, all Muslims are expected to apologise for any attack by a Muslim, but Westerners don't have to apologise when Muslims get killed by Western supremacists, or in wars.

Politicians are no better. While British politicians remain silent about Pigeda, President Barack Obama condemned the North Carolina killings after being criticised by Turkey's PM over his silence.

The media and politicians should take a stronger stance against Islamophobia.

Mohammed Samaana is a freelance writer based in Belfast

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