Enough Hate for Everyone: Muslims and Jews Are Targets of Bigotry in Europe

LONDON — A few years ago, I was a guest on “Start the Week,” a BBC radio discussion show. Among the other guests was the novelist Eva Figes, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany and a fierce critic of Israel. Israel, she suggested,would have built gas chambers to exterminate the Palestinians but for the fear it would “be found out.”

What astonished me was not simply Ms. Figes’s comment itself, but the fact that I was the only one who challenged her on it. The other guests may well have felt that a Holocaust survivor had some special license to speak harshly about Israel; I certainly don’t see them as anti-Semitic. But in suggesting without a speck of evidence that Israelis had a desire to build gas chambers, Ms. Figes had, for me, given the history of the Holocaust, crossed a line.

I was reminded of that discussion as the question of anti-Semitism has returned to Europe — often disguised as anger against Israel’s assault on Gaza. Synagogues have been attacked, Jewish-owned shops smashed, Jews beaten up. At pro-Palestinian demonstrations in London, placards comparing Israelis to Nazis have become common. There have even, reportedly, been chants of “gas the Jews” at demonstrations in Germany.

Today’s anti-Semitism in Europe is more than a replay of old themes; it is also the product of new developments. One is the growth of Muslim communities, or rather, their transformation.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Muslim communities in Europe were broadly secular. Since the late ’80s, though, secular movements have been marginalized, while religious fervor has grown. Support for the Palestinian cause has always


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  1. European authorities do not engage enough to reduce hate crimes – Minority Rights Group reports. Case studies in Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Kingdom show that asylum seekers, migrants, refugees, and long settled minority populations such as Jews, Muslims and Roma are the groups most often targeted in the regions. In many countries, the impact of the 2008 global financial crisis and government austerity measures has been blamed on migrants, and ethnic and religious minorities. This has translated into rising levels of violence. Their espousing of anti-immigrant, anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric has given a number of far-right groups a significant foothold in national parliaments, for example in Greece and Hungary. A pattern of xenophobia is evident in Bulgaria as well, where the recent arrival of thousands of refugees displaced by the conflict in Syria has provided far-right groups and extremists with a new target. Or against in France where, following the 2011 ban on the full-face veil in public places, women who continue to wear the veil have been subjected to harassment and abuse by members of the public. All this urges an immediate and concrete action to combat prejudices and consequent forms of violence.

    This country has become a cesspit of racism and lies, propagated by media hype such as this. No matter how many priests abused little boys, there was no ‘war on Christianity’ announced by the government. And once again, despite all other reports finding no evidence of any wrong doing in the schools, this extra report pops up with all sorts of accusations. Either the government had to find something to justify the investigation in the first place, or its just another part of the big smear campaign. 15 years ago the Muslim was just the same as any other minority in this country, they lived and worked with us and no one hated out of fear. When 3 buildings in another country were blown up, suddenly some thing horrific happened. A crime against humanity and human rights. The media and government started a social war on citizens of this country and across the world, based on their religion. It is sickening. Perhaps people do not know that in the last 3 decades, 4+ wars have been fought in which Christians and Christian nations have slaughtered Muslims in their millions. And we call Muslims terrorists. Its time for tolerance and peace to come back and we can stop all the lies, hate and fear. Not to mention the disgusting racism that seems to be the default setting for Telegraph readers.

    No one has any problem when: Jews keep beards and wear their traditional caps Christian priests and nuns wear their religious outfits Buddhist monks wear orange robes Sikhs keep beards and wear turbans Indian aunties wear Sarees (cross streets and hang out in Wal-Mart) Yeah but if any Muslim male keeps beard or if any Muslim girl wears hijab then everyone has problem. It’s Freedom when you go naked but it’s extremism when you wear hijab – just plain hypocrisy! Looking at the case of France, a major secular nation, I believe it is also not allowing women freedom by not letting her to wear her choice of clothing as it supposedly “clashes with French secular values”.

    Four Asian doctors, also acquaintances, are absolutely disenchanted with their institutions, which expect much from them and yet treat them as genetically inferior to their white colleagues. And they are embittered too about the way immigrants are demonised. They have all applied to go either to Canada or the US. Black and Asian academics too have moved to countries where they will be better appreciated.

    It is all getting worse again. Discrimination is everywhere from education to employment. Once upon a time we had anti-racist collectives, big hitters such as Darcus Howe, Bernie Grant and Suresh Grover of the Monitoring Group, and white allies such as Ken Livingstone and the Tory MP Peter Bottomley. We still have the gutsy Diane Abbott and persistent Doreen Lawrence taking on racists, but there is no movement, no phalanx to fight back against unfairness and injustice. Black and Asian people are choosing silence, acquiescence or escape, and most white people think racism is just so over – or that it is justified. The British Attitudes Survey shows attitudes towards migrants and minorities have hardened.

    A report by the Institute for Community Cohesion found that native parents were deserting some schools after finding their children out numbered by pupils from ethnic minorities. Schools in parts of England are becoming increasingly segregated. The study focused on 13 local authorities. Many of the schools and colleges are segregated and this was generally worsening over recent years. This is RACISM because British society is the home of institutional racism. My statement regarding Muslim schools where there is no place for non-Muslim child or a teacher is based on educational process and not on racism. Muslim children need Muslim teachers during their developmental periods. For higher studies and research, Muslim teacher is not a priority.
    London School of Islamics Trust

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