Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Willie Frazer's stereotype is an insult to Muslims

Loyalist campaigner Willie Frazer's arrival at court last Friday dressed as Abu Hamza was an insult to all Muslims.

His assertion that the Serious Crime Act 2007, which he was charged under, was brought in to deal with what he called "extreme creatures of hate" and "Muslim creatures" is Islamophobic.

Frazer tried to imply that the Act is exclusively for Muslims, because they are the only extremists and he had to look like a Muslim in order to be charged under the Act. Unfortunately, extremists exist in every society. Every faith, or ideology, has produced them.

It is true that preachers like Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada are extremists, but they are not the only ones.

The Buddhists who are murdering and expelling Muslims in Burma are extremists. The RSS and Abhinav Bharat are extremist Hindu organisations.

Concerned Christians and the Lord Resistance Army are Christian extremists. Kach is an extremist Zionist organisation.

Frazer's own political ally, Jim Dowson, used to raise money for the extremist British National Party.

For Muslims, the problem is that extremists like Abu Hamza have been in the limelight more than other extremists. This gives a negative image about Islam that does not reflect the reality.

The bad news is that this is more likely to continue. Muslims will continue to be the bogeyman, with implications for their integration and acceptance in Western societies.

From personal experience, society is becoming increasingly racist towards Muslims as a result of ignorance, negative publicity and violence perpetrated by a tiny minority. However, no other faith group suffers as such because of the acts of the few.

The way Willie Frazer dressed was a continuation of the demonisation of Muslims.

Many Muslims across Britain and Ireland feel the impact of such demonisation in terms of prejudice and stereotype, which affect their day-to-day lives.

Individual Muslims should be treated according to what they do – not according to what others do in their name.

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