Tubby Isaacs wrote:
Tubby Isaacs wrote:
There's the irony that Muslims objecting to racy stuff is bad, when white people doing it would be "family values".
You're not helping your case by blurring religion and race.
I think that's a bit of a pedantic point, because the two are already so interlinked in practice and even more so in the Mail discourse to which I was referring. The Turks who have the excellent cafe I go to have white skin, and you'd probably guess they were Spanish if you saw them in the street. But because they're Muslim (not practising at all, to my knowledge) they can't be white in Mail-land. Similar with many Iranians.
Wouldn't you call Mail "Muslims get free big cars" articles racist?
Yes, articles about Muslims getting cars can certainly be grounded in racism. They may well use race and religion interchangeably but that isn't an argument for joining them in doing so.
As for the people who run the cafe, you refer to their skin tone but if they are ethnic Turks why would they want to be classed as white? Ashkenazi jews often have pale white skin (think Aberdeen in January) but give their ethnicity as 'Ashkenazi'. Persians can have the same skin tone as Arabs but good luck to you if you mix them up. Why would they want to be seen as white?
It is very
important to keep race, religion and culture as discrete categories. They can overlap in many and varied ways and, as you suggest, discussion around one element can mask prejudice around another. Conflating such categories does not help counter this. Many Asian people in the UK are not Muslim, perhaps more than half. A great many privately hold very negative views towards Islam, far stronger than those encountered in your average white British citizen, often stemming from the partition of India. They are often viewed as one homogenous group on the basis of appearence by many people, a view not helped by papers like the Mail. Indeed, many even share the same ethnicity - Punjabi.
There are a small but growing number of white Muslims in the UK. The most populous Islamic state in the world is Indonesia and they are almost all native Indonsians ethnically. If we left it to the tabloids we'd have a simple 'brown skin = bomb' equation. So no, not pedantic. These things are worth keeping seperate for good reason. It is all too easy to silence a critic of relgion through branding them a racist. It happens often and I've seen it myself in various debates. But I'm glad that I can disagree with Bishop Nazir-Ali on the grounds that he wants Christian prayers in council meetings. Informed people know he is from Pakistan but it is his Christian dimension that offends, not his ethnicity. That's an easy case - he swans around in a purple frock and big pointy hat. But what if he holds the same oppressive views and pops up in traditional Islamic garb? He is still wrong. Sadly, many people don't differentiate. All Asian people are Islamic terrorists in their head. Rather than some Asian people are Muslim, and of those, a small number hold extemist views and of those an even smaller number act on them, etc.