Monday, June 27 2016

The BBC reports on ‘Extremism in the UK’

In light of the Norway terror attacks and the rise of far-right extremism in Europe, BBC Radio 4 broadcast an edition of The Report last Thursday, 11th August, looking into far right extremism in the UK and the fears of ‘Islamisation’.

The Report looked at the issue of ‘Islamisation’ in the UK and the fears associated with the notion and how this had contributed to the rise of the far right.

The documentary gave significant air time to the marginal group ‘Islam4UK’ and its spokesperson Anjem Choudary, as well as Cllr Alan Craig who repeated his ludicrous remark on the poor availability of non-halal meat in his local area of Newham as an example of ‘creeping Islamisation’.

The documentary did point to some alarming statistics - for example, a recent YouGov poll which found that 58% of Britons associate Islam with extremism.

The Report also pointed to the worrying fact that some individuals have been attacked and intimidated by certain extremist elements in the British Muslim community and that in some cases this has led to people actively coming out in support of the EDL.

The documentary then went on to interview Douglas Murray, former director of the Centre for Social Cohesion and current associate director of the Henry Jackson, who commented on how the ‘failure’ of mainstream politics to get to grips with the rise of radical Islam is the cause of the frustrations of many more extreme far-right elements.

If by ‘getting to grips’, Murray meant in his own words that, “All immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop", and that "Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition”, the fact that his comments were given the tone of an ‘expert’ is very troubling indeed and a dereliction of duty on the part of the BBC for inviting him to offer a perspective at all.

The second part of the documentary looked at the extent to which the British far-right constitutes a real and violent threat to British society. Matthew Goodwin, a lecturer at Nottingham University commented on how the fragmentation of the far right means that there is “good reason….to be watching how this movement evolves very carefully”, and Neil Malkin from Durham Police, highlighted that elements of the far right are ‘organised and highly motivated’, pointing to examples of far right extremists’ foiled terror plots against Muslims.

In an unusual move, the BBC also invited Edmund Standing to contribute his views on the far right as an ‘expert’ on far-right extremism. Standing, whose expertise is on full display in his report on the BNP, has in the past downplayed significantly the Islamophobia endemic in the BNP. Standing has expressed his own frustration with the BBC for having been invited to share a platform on the programme with the democratically elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, whose ‘moderate’ credentials Standing derides on the blog, Harry’s Place.

The fact that individuals such as Standing and Murray were given a platform as ‘experts’ on the far-right and the ‘fear of Islamisation,’ with little regard for their own contribution to anti-Muslim scaremongering, is troubling.

You can write to the editor of The Report or file a complaint with the BBC’s complaints unit for their inclusion of Standing and Murray on the programme.  

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 August 2011 13:39

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