30 December 2006

On Brits in Mecca

The histrionics start with the headline, and there is no special need to continue reading this article by Arifa Akbar. Still, a few more sentences could not harm:
Yashir Nawab could hardly recognise himself. Gone were the east Londoner's spiky haircut, Gucci shoes and Armani clothes. Yesterday, as he wandered among the throng of pilgrims towards Mina, near the holy city of Mecca, his head was shaven, and he had grown a beard. His only clothing was a simple white robe, to signify all Muslims are equal in the face of God.
On the other hand, reading more is vomit-inducing, so you are warned, dear reader.

There is a point that deserves a special notice. At the end of the article some helpful soul placed a list of what seems to Independent to be "Incidents of Islamophobia". The list includes the following gems:
  • Jack Straw, Leader of the Commons, angered many Muslims in October by stating that the veil is a "visible statement of separation and of difference" and said he asked women visiting his surgery to remove it.
  • A Muslim classroom assistant suspended for wearing a veil in lessons was sacked in November. Aishah Azmi, 23, was asked to remove it after the school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, said pupils found it hard to understand her.
  • Between September 2001 and the end of August 2006 the police arrested 1,082 people on suspicion of offences under Terrorism Act 2000. Of these 664 were released without charge. Some 175 were charged with terrorism-related offences; 174 faced non-terrorism related charges; and 69 on immigration offences.
  • Cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed published in a Danish newspaper provoked worldwide protests. A demonstration in London in February sparked outrage when placards gave out messages some said amounted to incitement to murder. Mizanur Rahman, a website designer, was later convicted of stirring racial hatred for carrying placards calling for non-Muslims to be "annihilated" and "beheaded" as he addressed more than 300 protesters outside the Danish embassy in London.
The whole enchilada smells strongly of phobia. I am not sure, though, that it is Islamophobia...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com