Martin Bright in the JC reports:
The anti-fascist publication Searchlight, which was behind the “Hope Not Hate” campaign to stop the British National Party in east London, is to expand its operations to oppose the Islamophobic English Defence League and Islamic extremism itself.
Mr Lowles said that he felt a huge sense of relief that he was finally able to speak his mind. “Islamist extremism has been the elephant in the room for too long,” he said. “Everyone knows it is wrong and is actually part of the problem but people have either been bullied into silence or lack the confidence to speak out.”
He added: “Islamist extremism is no friend of a progressive society. Staying silent on attitudes and behaviour that is both wrong, offensive and downright dangerous is abandoning one’s own progressive values and moral compass. Remaining silent and uncritical will be viewed by others as passive support or acceptance and that is not the basis to build a popular broadbased campaign against Islamophobia.”
Several Muslims posted supportive comments on the Hope Not Hate blog as a result of the intervention. Sameena from East London wrote: “It would be good to get some Muslim academics, and leftist leaders on board and being vocal. I would like to see some Muslim women sans hijab as well. There are plenty of us – but the media always wants to show the ones who fit a particular image.”
Bushra added: “MAC do not represent all British Muslims! I am a British Muslim and I wore my poppy proudly and observed the two-minute silence. I am sickened and offended that these people have no respect for those who fought and died, so that they could have freedom of speech.”
The battle against Islamophobia and anti-Muslim bigotry and the battle against Islamist extremism are connected struggles. You cannot defeat one without taking on the other. This is something that Searchlight first identified in 2005. It was carpeted by the SWP’s front organisation, Unite Against Fascism for saying so.
Searchlight has been right to concentrate its limited resources on beating the British National Party. The BNP is now close to death. Time to shine the Searchlight on other fascists as well.
This may well be the point where the political argument was won.