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Welsh Muslims report widespread racist abuse


Welsh Muslims report widespread racist abuse

The Institute of Race Relations draws our attention to a Wales Online report on a new study of racism and race equality in Wales by Professor Heaven Crawley that was commissioned by Race Council Cymru.

It found people from minority ethnic backgrounds in Wales are still experiencing racism in health, education and housing services, as well as in employment. And in many cases when racism occurs, it found victims are not reporting or challenging it, but instead changing their behaviours, language and clothing to “fit in”.

The report contains the following section on the experiences of Welsh Muslims:

Many Muslim respondents also reported verbal abuse directed at them because of their religious identity. One young girl described walking home from school and another child singing “Oompa Loompa, do-ba-dee-doo, I’ve got a bomb to strap around you”. Others reported being called a “terrorist” or a member of Al Qaeda or the Taliban. One young boy described how older men make racist comments whilst he is gaming online: “They say ‘you are training for the Taliban, all you Asians are bombers’”. Such incidents of verbal abuse often increase around the anniversaries of the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks in New York and London:

“I was accosted on the street and [they] shouted racist abusive words at me on the anniversary of the July bombings in London.”

“We have so many experiences at trouble at certain times of the year especially the anniversary of 9/11.”

For women and girls, the intersection of race, religion and gender is associated with particular forms of racism and discrimination, most notably being called names and having headscarves (hejab / hijab) pulled or even removed. Several respondents suggested that anti-Islamic attitudes are as much, if not more, of a problem as racist attitudes:

“The girls are reporting more and more Islamophobia scarf pulling, being called a terrorist. It’s focused on the fact that they are Muslim. There has been a big change from racism to religious discrimination.”

“Its normal for your mum or sister to have their headscarves pulled off and be called names. Racism is more targeted towards Muslims.”

Some women explained that they do not wear the hejab / hijab in public places to avoid attracting attention and possibly negative attitudes and behaviours. Others said that they felt comfortable wearing hejab or other traditional dress and had never experienced any problems or difficulties. One woman who is Welsh and White described how she was treated after converting to Islam and deciding to wear a hejab. She described being called a “Paki” and being asked “aren’t you hot in there”:

“They look at you as if you have two heads but you are still an auntie, a mum, a friend. I often get asked where I come from but I’m from Wales. I never realised how racist people can be just by the way you dress.”

Respondents in Llanelli described several incidents in which youths stood outside the mosque swearing and shouting, broke a window and urinated on the doorstop. They also threw beer cans. This incident was dealt with by the police who installed a CCTV camera and organise police patrols. In Wrexham a swastika was painted on the door of the mosque.

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  • moraka

    @Zakariya Ali Sher

    Which matches no country on earth. Also, Eastern Europeans would usually count as ‘white,’ and Sudanese are Africans. So yeah… I’m guessing this is another one of those attempts to not appear racist.

    An old trick by islomofobes. They always say that they are not racists or hate racists. To seem more legit. Because racism today is highly tabu.

  • Zakariya Ali Sher

    @ Perpetually Confused:

    > Hmmmm. Criticism of Islam is racist.

    Criticism of Islam is not inherently racist in and of itself, though it often invokes and relies upon racist tropes. Nobody says you have to be Muslim, or even that you have to LIKE Islam, but if you live in a pluralistic democracy then you have to live with the fact that some of us (myself included) will choose to follow Islam.

    The fact that the anti-Muslim crowd often invoke terms like ‘Paki’ and ‘raghead’ does suggest that much of Islamophobia is racist, or at least interchangeable with racism.

    > If that is the case, then Islam must
    > appeal to certain racial groups and not
    > others.

    Religion isn’t so simple. It is true that Islam is the dominant religion throughout much of Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and SE Asia. That’s a huge chunk of the world, and it doesn’t comfortably conform to any ‘race,’ unless you want to lump all black and ‘brown’ people together. Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, Asians, Malays and dozens of African cultures. There’s not much similarity, not to mention that many non-Muslims also live in that area.

    And it’s also true that Islam has NOT been the majority religion in most of Europe, North America, Central America, South America, Australia or New Zealand. These areas – or the current inhabitants of them – are Christian, or traditionally have been Christian. The thing is, you still have pockets of Muslims, some centuries old. White European countries like Kosova, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina are all Muslim majority, and many other countries have Muslim minorities. Not to mention that you DO have some white Euro-American converts to Islam.

    The fact is, most people follow the religion they were raised with, or the dominant religion in the area where they live. I am a Muslim, I CHOOSE to be a Muslim, but I know that some of my less devout Brothers and Sisters are Muslim simply because of accident of birth. If they want to leave Islam, they can. Honestly, I’d prefer that they find their own religion. If they wind up being Muslim, so be it, but I welcome their choice either way.

    > If so then … Islam is a racist ideology.

    Again, not necessarily. Some ideologies and belief systems do take root in certain cultures, for one reason or another, but this has to do with culture, not skin color.

    Is Christianity a ‘racist ideology’? Countries like say Japan or Thailand have never taken to Christianity in any numbers. Does that mean Christianity is somehow anti-Thai or anti-Japanese? Or does it have to do with the history and culture of those respective nations. By that same token, Buddhism has barely taken off in ‘white’ countries like those Europe and North America. Hinduism, Jainism and Sikhism even less still. Are those religions racist? And what about the Bahá’í racist? They’re a minority pretty much everywhere, but I couldn’t think of a more universalist bunch of people.

    > You can’t have it both ways …..

    You’re trying to compare apples and oranges.

    > Either Islam is racist and therefore
    > criticism of it is racist

    Huh? Criticism of racism is racist? Does that mean when I rip on the KKK and neo-Nazis that I’m being racist against white people?

    > OR Islam is not racist and criticism of it
    > is not racist.

    As I said before, when said criticism devolves into calling someone things like ‘Paki,’ it IS racist…

    > My country was founded by blacks then
    > overtaken by whites then has had
    > successive intakes of Italian, Eastern
    > European, Chinese, Vietnamese, Middle
    > Eastern, African, Sudanese and just about
    > every other racial group except for maybe
    > Eskimos.

    Which matches no country on earth. Also, Eastern Europeans would usually count as ‘white,’ and Sudanese are Africans. So yeah… I’m guessing this is another one of those attempts to not appear racist.

  • Chameleon

    @Bimbo Idioticus,

    You have been caught with your pants all the way down, completely speechless to make even a single argument or offer a single relevant fact against Islam after eight posts — and counting. What is even worse, I skimmed through your entire pathetic, piss poor — but appropriately named — site since your first post on August 25 of this year, and there is not a single relevant fact against Islam that you came up with to justify all that hatred of yours against Islam.

    What a humiliating embarrassment! You hate Islam, and yet you don’t even know why. You are intellectually infantile, and yet you are “most disappointed not to see my site listed on your ‘loon’ list.” You are just another low life bigot, and yet you want everyone to pat you on the back for supposedly not being “racist”. Watching a bigot like you piss all over himself and then display his soiled self proudly to the world is wonderful entertainment. I must thank you for that.

  • Amro

    How is the taxi driver’s name evidence that he is Muslim? What you’re basically arguing is that anyone called David, Nathan, Adam, Paul, Simon etc etc are automatically Christian. That’s a ridiculous argument. Having a Muslim name makes someone a Muslim as much as having a Biblical name makes one Christian or Jewish. In other words, you’re wrong.

  • FP

    @Brittanicus Infidelicus

    As a practising Muslim, one who actively seeks to learn about my religion.
    The problem is not the religion itself. It is man. As usual. What has happened is that the religion is mired in cultural traditions and the weight of medieval scholars. Some of whom were very wise and very suitable for their time. The immutable laws of the Quran still need to be interpreted and you cannot generally use an interpretation of a scholar writing in Bahgdad in 1400 as binding law in 2012 UK. The Sharia, the code of how to live (because that is what Sharia actually is) is supposed to be region specific and move with the area. Unfortunatley without a clergy, being foudned on egalitarian principles, there is no church to clap down on people like Choudray and his ilk, when education hits people, they tend to understand as I did. It simply requires people to be able to learn.

  • @ ‘Britianicus Infidelicus’ – First, my main point is that no matter what may be true or untrue of the ‘violence of Islam’, any such violence was in it from the time of Muhammad (peace be on him and his family); therefore Islam cannot possible be getting ‘increasingly violent’ as you say. Only the Muslim people, not the Islamic Religion, could be getting increasingly violent.

    Next: as to the ‘violence’ in the Qur’an, that will depend on what you mean by ‘violence’. If you consider acts of defense and retaliation against those who have first attacked you or your people to be condemnable ‘violence’, then yes the Qur’an is a ‘violent book’ since it explicitly permits fighting when the Muslim people are attacked first. But if you condemn that, I trust you are a complete pacifist and condemn all fighting by all nations no matter how they may have been provoked and attacked. Otherwise, your condemnation of the ‘violence’ of Islam is pure hypocrisy.

    That is the only kind of ‘violence’ approved by the Qur’an; it prohibits acts of aggressive violence.

    The Qur’an cannot legitimately be blamed for the corrupt actions of professed Muslims who twist and pervert the text to provide support for their sick thinking – those perverted Pakistani Taliban agents who recently attempted to murder Malala Yousufzai for instance.

    Anyone who claims to be Muslim, but considers any part of the Qur’an to be “a load of cack” has in fact renounced Islam. If liking such people is what you consider to be liking ‘sensible’ Muslims, then you still don’t like genuine Muslims.

    Now there may be various interpretations of Qur’anic texts among genuine Muslims; but no true Muslim will consider ANY part of the Qur’an to be nonsense. Metaphorical and allegorical, certainly; absolutely not “a load of cack” though.

    You will find that those who genuinely practice the Islam of Muhammad (peace to him and his family) are not among the violent ones (except in self defense, of course). I myself genuinely like such practicing Muslims, whether or not I agree with interpretations of particular texts they may hold to, or particular beliefs and (non-aggressive) practices. Do you?

  • Chameleon

    “Far too often in Islamic culture these verses of violence have been taken literally”

    More hot air about what Islam “literally” says. No facts. No logic. No argument. And, therefore, no point.

  • Sam, thanks for confirming that I didn’t use the word ‘paki’.

    The bible may have violent verses but these verses have either been sidelined or re interpreted. Far too often in Islamic culture these verses of violence have been taken literally, something that Christians have not done for centuries.

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