| ||Edmund Standing reiterates his staunch belief that the BNP’s anti Muslim rhetoric is merely expedient posturing, in a post on the witch-hunting blog Harry’s Place. |
Replying to criticism from ENGAGE (here) and Islamophobia Watch, on the paucity of mention of the BNP’s anti Muslim racism in the report Standing wrote for the Centre for Social Cohesion, and his defence of the omission on eGovMonitor, Standing repeats his claims that the BNP’s anti Muslim racism is no more than a tactical move, conveniently obscuring the party’s innate ‘enemy’ - Jews.
Standing writes that the BNP recognizing the limitations of its obsession with racial purity in a society that is not ‘ideologically racist’, has mutated into a party that conceals behind its anti Muslim bigotry and asylum seeker bashing its actual and ultimate goal which is to avert ‘a well planned conspiracy by ‘international Jewry’ to destroy the white race through immigration and the promotion of race mixing’.
Standing claims that the BNP in order to make headway, ‘need[s] an ‘issue’ around which to campaign. Nothing is forthcoming but then comes 9/11 and then 7/7. You note the rise in hostility towards Muslims and you also notice that on a parallel track a hatred for asylum seekers is becoming more common. Now, you’ve decided that the only way to get power and to ‘ethnically cleanse’ Britain through a process of mass deportation of non-white citizens is to appear more moderate and in touch with ordinary people’s concerns. So, with the rise of anti-Muslim feeling, you decide to jump on the bandwagon.
‘“But,” your old comrades say, “the Jew is the real enemy, not Muslims.” You try to reassure them that the new tactics are the only way forward and that for now the anti-Semitism needs to go back into the closet.’
‘You find some success with this approach, and you also note how successful anti-Islam campaigning is turning out for other neo-fascists on the Continent who have had a similar ‘conversion’ to ‘moderation’. For tactical reasons, you bite the bullet and reach out to Jews - “They can’t call me a Nazi then,” you think, “plus, they control the media anyway so I may as well try to please them.”
‘In addition to this, you think, by adopting a superifically pro-Jewish stance you can also make use of the very language that has haunted you all your life - ‘anti-Semite’, ‘Jew hater’, ‘fascist’, ‘Nazi’ - and throw it at Muslims.
‘You continue to lead a dual campaign. On the one hand, you appear largely obsessed with Islam and ridding Britain of Muslims, but on the other, you maintain your true racial beliefs. The fact is, you are still ‘wholly opposed to any form of racial integration between British and non-European peoples’. You see Muslims and asylum seekers as easy targets to begin with. With them, you can talk about culture and tax payers’ money being wasted. You don’t have to try to explain your ideologically racist worldview which revolves around beliefs about a well planned conspiracy by ‘international Jewry’ to destroy the white race through immigration and the promotion of race mixing.’
By insisting that the BNP’s preoccupation is with race and not religious categories, Muslims are dealt a double blow – anti Muslim bigotry is casually treated as expedient and transient, the real issue being traditional racism and racial purity, and race relations legislation, which might otherwise come to the aid of Muslims in challenging BNP bigotry, is pushed further away because Muslims, unlike Jews, aren’t classified as a race. And, if Standing's analysis is to be believed, neither are Muslims an actual BNP target.
A comment beneath Standing’s post on Harry’s Place is revealing, ‘Can you see a BNP Britain welcoming white converts to Islam?', Rumbold asks. Not if Griffin’s ‘Islam is a cancer’ and ‘This is a Christian country and Islam is not welcome’, comments are anything to go by.
There’s much in Standing’s remarks that are cause for concern.
Why are anti Semitism and Islamophobia not treated as twin, equally despicable, evils? Whether the BNP’s short term target is to rid the UK and Europe of Muslims before moving on to achieve the long term objective of racial purity by evicting Jews is not something to split hairs over. Both these short and long term targets ought to evoke reprehension and a solid commitment by all concerned at the prospect of rising BNP popularity, to avert both through anti fascist campaigning. Why would Standing insist on splitting hairs over the BNP’s ideological and cultural racism, as though one were less an evil than the other?
Is the charge of tactical maneouvres by the BNP, making expedient use of anti Muslim sentiments in the UK, sufficient to dissolve our concerns at the severity of the challenge faced by Muslims who are the targets of this ‘posturing’?
Hate and bigotry, whether of a cultural or ideological variety, should have no place in our society. The sort of ‘domino effect’ argument propounded by Standing should alert us to the real consequences of allowing any amount of bigotry to enter our public discourse and politics. Whether the BNP starts with Muslims and ends with Jews, or vice versa, should not blind us to the fact that its neo Nazi, fascist bigotry targets all. In treating the BNP’s targeting of Muslims as expedient and tactical Standing displays an irresponsible lack of concern for a significant plank in the party’s mainstreaming of its undisguised fascism.
It is a lack of concern that is even more telling given that Standing's report on the BNP was published by the Centre for Social Cohesion, of which Douglas Murray is the Director. Murray's own previous remarks on Islam and Muslims are barely distinguishable from the racist harangues of Griffin and his ilk. Were Standing interested in highlighting the double whammy of the BNP's fascism, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic, might he not have offered his report to an organisation whose director had not uttered the kind of hate speech that is often thrown about by members of the BNP?
See also Islamophobia Watch, ‘When Griffin says 'Islam is a cancer' he doesn't really believe that, apparently’.
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