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Virtue-signalling in Lincolnshire.


BRITAIN’S POLICE FORCES seem to have agreed amongst themselves that their real purpose is not deterring crime and catching criminals but pulling increasingly embarrassing stunts in public to signal their political virtue . Hence they show us how seriously they take our safety by complaining to supermarkets for labelling female sanitary products as “feminine care”, displaying their painted blue nails (anti-slavery, somehow), dressing up in bear costumes and wearing red high heels — not all at the same time.

As part of Hate Crime Awareness Week (no, sadly, I too was unaware of its existence) and to confirm their membership of the Society of the Righteous, Lincolnshire Police issued a video, British Muslims. The intention of the video is to “challenge perceptions” of how Muslims are viewed, and seeks to persuade the dull-witted denizens of our brute and beastly shire to abjure their inbred racism and look kindly upon the much-maligned religion of Islam and its adherents.

It has not gone down well. The public’s negative responses to the video have “disappointed” the Deputy Chief Constable, who is “very committed to reducing hate crime”. Well, it’s heartening to hear of his commitment, although I think he could just have said he is very committed to reducing crime, full stop. We could do without this “hate crime” claptrap, which is just a means of making the left’s identity politics enforceable by law.

The public feeling that this is a propaganda exercise is understandable. Lincoln city’s Muslim population is a minute 1%, that of the county much the same. Given the insignificance of that  presence and the absence of any anti-Islamic activity, people may reasonably ask why they are being lectured on the correct way to view Muslims. Watching the full 12 minutes of the video is unlikely to allay their suspicions, and neither is the claim it was “created with school pupils as its target audience”. Indoctrinate our children, why don’t you?

A number of points are raised by the video, but I’ll address just a couple of them.

The presenter, Hafez Abdusammad Mulla, talks about the “long, shared history” of Britain and Islam (more of this shortly), shows us an Islamic charity at work in flood-hit areas of the country, has various Muslim professionals, ie, female doctor in hijab, senior copper, female MP not in hijab, talking about their religion, which is, surprising to learn, a religion of peace, and so on.

“A long, shared history with Britain”? – no; just because Islamic coins have been found at various sites, and Britons traded with Arab countries hundreds of years ago, etc, is not evidence of a shared history; any more than that the first mosque in Britain was built in 1860 is proof of the same. (The first synagogue predates that by seven centuries, but this is probably not the best context in which to talk about the Jews.) Conflating the presence of a few traders and traded objects with the idea of a profound interconnectedness of cultures is ridiculous. It’s as ridiculous as claiming that Japan has a long, shared history with Britain because the UK is full of Japanese cars and electrical goods.

This exaggeration of the achievements of Islam is a trope many will recognise (Chesterton satirised it in The Flying Inn a century ago), as is the claim that the media constantly portray Muslims negatively. In fact it’s the opposite: the media are constantly at pains to show Muslims in a positive light, from Nadya Hussein in The Great British Bake Off to Adil Ray’s sitcom, Citizen Khan, and various documentaries. The only area where you are likely to find anti-Muslim sentiment is on social media, because that is the only space available for the public to express their views – for the moment, at any rate, until the authorities and big tech companies ban it entirely.

We have now got used to the media avoiding admitting the nature of numerous Islamic terror attacks here and abroad until it is unavoidable, and then dropping coverage overnight.

The truth is also darker than that. We have now got used to the media avoiding admitting the nature of numerous Islamic terror attacks here and abroad until it is unavoidable, and then dropping coverage overnight. So much so, indeed, that we automatically assume that any mass knife or gun attack or car ramming is the work of a Muslim extremist.

So if Mr Mulla wants to convince the Lincolnshire public that Islam poses no threat he should be a bit straighter and stop using these worn out untruths. People can see that most Muslims just want to get on with their lives like everybody else. But they can also see there is a sizeable minority who are determined to cause disruption and bloodshed, and the rest of their community seem unable or unwilling to constrain them.

Another problem is that the process of integration and assimilation everyone was expecting appears to have gone into reverse. Twenty or thirty years ago it was unusual to see a British-born young Muslim woman wearing a hijab. Now it’s commonplace. The men who first immigrated, as you can see from the photos and clips in the video, were generally clean shaven and dressed in western clothes. And that’s what you would have seen twenty, thirty years ago in places like Leeds and Bradford. Watch the clips of present day Britain and you’ll see men and women dressed as if they were still in India or Pakistan.

Whether you think these observations are racist or illiberal is irrelevant. To many people they are obvious outward signs of an intention to maintain a separate identity and way of life. Diversity has come to mean dis-integration, separation, replacement. And the native population are the ones being lectured to about exercising understanding. They are the ones being told they have to change their way of life.

There are limits to how much of your original culture you can sustain even if you’ve been born here and carry a British passport. Hopefully most of our Muslim citizens are fine with this but neither they nor the rest of us are helped by the patronising propaganda dished up in videos like this.

suxcoverCurrente Calamo columnist, poet, writer and lecturer Michael Blackburn lives in Lincolnshire . From 2005–2008 he was the Royal Literary Fund fellow at the University of Lincoln where he now teaches English Literature and Creative Writing. His poetry has appeared in numerous publications and anthologies over the years, including Being Alive (Bloodaxe) and Something Happens, Sometimes Here (Five Leaves Press). His most recent collection is Spyglass Over The Lagoon. A selection of his Fortnightly Currente Calamo columns, Sucks To Your Revolution: Annoying The Politically Correct (US), is available as a Kindle ebook.

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4 years ago

this is bad

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