Sectarianism is a serious social problem in our country, for sure, but there is little we can do about it when it happens outside institutions. We can’t police people’s homes to stop parents poisoning the minds of their children. The best we can do here is improve diversity awareness and education in schools and hope some of it sticks. But racism, prejudice, bigotry, and sectarianism thrive in institutions where such cultures have gone unchallenged and allowed to fester.
This living on the threshold has taken a toll on us. Since the late 1990s, when the scales were first taken from our eyes, we have had to come to terms with new realities and battle for our faith in new and unfamiliar territories. My own journey, like that of many other Catholics, was one that made it impossible for me to consider myself a 'Roman' Catholic. The hierarchy had been – perhaps forever – tainted. It no longer held the moral authority, no matter what the Church taught, to hold my allegiance. The papacy was no longer the infallible and unassailable Rock it had once been.
In 2018 Brexit and the disaster capitalism of the British establishment is also all about thieft. This is the latest development in a class war project designed to transfer the wealth of our society to the very top. The reduction in rights, the deregulation, and the tax benefits for the wealthy that will come from Britain’s departure from the European Union will make the wealthiest people in the UK even wealthier – and more powerful. The last thing these robbers want is a class based solidarity emerging in the class they are despoiling. A distraction has to be found.
There is no legitimate reason for banning the veil, leaving us only with the illegitimate reason no one calling for the ban wants to reveal – racism. No sooner is this said than some idiot leaps into the discussion with that pearl of wisdom: “Islam isn’t a race.” No it’s not, but no one dispensing this nugget of knowledge and no one attacking the “burka” can tell us much about Islam the religion. Shahadah, Salah, Zakat, Sawm, and Hajj – the Pillars of Islam – are mysteries to them. Their assault is not an assault on Islam qua Islam, but on Muslims qua racialised others.
At the heart of this Israeli and Zionist definition is the deliberate conflation of Zionism – an ethno-nationalist state-political ideology – and Judaism, and, by extension, the conflation of anti-Zionism and antisemitism. How useful to the State of Israel – Katz’s “Jewish State” – would it be had this definition been adopted officially by the European Union as it was by the US State Department last year? Doubtless, this is what the AJC’s Andrew Baker had in mind when he negotiated with the EU to have it adopted. Yet, more rational heads prevailed.
The presence of the Dutch far-right leader, Geert Wilders, along with representatives from other European far-right organisations, at the London rally makes it clear that the rise of the right is not simply a problem of the British white working class. Neo-Nazi and far and ultra-far-right groups are gaining strength and popular and political momentum right across the northern hemisphere; from central Russia, across Europe, to the rust belt of the United States. These groups and organisations are in communication, learning from and influencing one another.
Public discussion and media emphasis since 9/11 (2001), switching racial discourse from diverse racial signifiers to Islam, has been found to bear down heavily upon Muslim women. This essay will examine the use of women and the female body in Islamophobia as it is evidenced primarily in Ireland, critically analysing it through the framework of Said’s Orientalism, the Racial State of Goldberg, and Yuval-Davis’ thesis of women as the reproducers of the nation.
True to form, having been bested by an Irishman and having run out of any other rational arguments – well, he never had one in the first place – Boulton came clean out of his foxhole to respond to the derision he was getting in Ireland. “You Irish,” he spat back, “need to get over yourselves.” You Irish! We all speak the same language. We know what that “You [insert ethnic group]” means. In just two words Adam Boulton had typed out a concise summation of over six hundred years of England’s anti-Irish hatred.