Monday, February 11, 2008

Labour and racism

Phil Woolas, who has form on anti-Muslim comments, and is currently the Minister for the Environment (!) has spoken about inbreeding within the Muslim community. I am not going to get in to the details of this issue as there is a kernel of truth to this statement as there is with all prejudice otherwise it would just not work. What i am going to question is why when this issue has been around for so long does the Environment minister decide to speak on it during the middle of a crisis which in the public mind is about the social self-segregation of Muslims (through the incorporation of the shariah). It seems that the racist trope moved from culture to biology (so Steven Jones speaks on this morning's Today programme) and shame on Labour for manning the ship during this time and doing nothing about it. It is totally unbelievable that the media is acting in this way and indicative of a much greater problem that lies amongst them. They do not employ any Muslims as equals. And so they know not of what they write about. Somebody do a survey of the broadcast media and the press and ask how many non-assimilated Muslims they employ. Six and a half years after September 11.

A second related point is that this is about colonialism within the postmodern setting. What peole like Anne Cryer do is take a moral argument, refuse permission for the Muslim community to do something about it (we are not in denial as she knows, we need some kind of offical empowerment which she works to deny), and then castigate the community for its immorality. Many of us have been following this for years and have tried to communicate with Cryer and her team but to no avail, she prefers going to the media and i ask you, in the six years since she has campaigned against forced marriage, how much progress has there been? How much has the community changed? What has has she achieved by constantly attacking the community? Instead, it has lead to further and further reification. To such an extent that the government is now considering changing the law which will allow third parties to inform the authorites on cases against the consent of the individuals involved if they view them to be invloved in a forced marriage. The government is now consulting on this. What is interesting and perhaps worrying for anyone who philosophically follows this issue will be that the state is considering to take the right to act against the consent of the individual whereas the bottom line on libertarian-communitarian debates has always been the consent of the individual. Will teachers make these decisions based upon their lay knowledge of Muslims: shariah, jihad, inbreeding, self-segregation, honour killings? Judges are already incorporating discriminatory notions of culture into their judgements - i wish somebody would do so some work on this - and they are supposed to have brilliant minds, so how will the rest of us deal with the anti-Muslim prejudice that pervades so much of our culture when we make our judgements?