The Beeb has removed from social media a clip of Ms [Zara] Mohammed, the new head of the Muslim Council of Britain, being interviewed on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. …
Ms Mohammed is the first female head of the MCB. She and many of her supporters seem to have believed that this fact would generate gushing media coverage only, about Muslim community groups becoming more female-friendly, etc etc.
But Emma Barnett of Woman’s Hour — being a journalist who, you know, likes to ask probing questions — had a different idea. Barnett put Mohammed on the spot in an interview aired on 4 February. She pressed her particularly on the issue of female imams. How many are there in the UK, she asked? She asked four times. Mohammed couldn’t answer. It was embarrassing.
The Islamophobia scam:
To most listeners this will have come across as a standard newsy interview. A public figure being put on the spot, being pushed for answers, being badgered (gently) for information. Nothing to see here. Interviews like this happen every day. But the identitarian brigade saw things differently. To them, the interview was an act of racism. It was an ‘exercise in Islamophobia’, said one commentator.
This is baloney of the highest order. Barnett said nothing whatsoever that was racist or Islamophobic. She merely interrogated — quite lightly, as it happens — a newly appointed public figure, the head of a body whose work and beliefs are matters of public interest….
Tackling so-called Islamophobia is not about challenging genuine anti-Muslim bigotry, which is something the vast majority of people would like to see challenged. No, it’s about demonising and punishing any criticism of Islam or of Islamic organisations and practices. It is an underhand accusation of racism designed to stymie perfectly legitimate discussion about a religion.
The Islamophobia industry … is best understood as an enforcer of neo-blasphemy laws. They pose as being in the tradition of the noble anti-racists of the past, who rightfully challenged demeaning commentary about ethnic-minority people. But in truth their aim is to circumscribe what may be said about Islam. They marshal the modern politics of identity to the pre-modern and regressive end of branding as ‘phobic’ – that is, mentally disordered, morally suspect — anyone who is anything less than effusive about their religion.
There’s another, even more worrying aspect to this crusade against ‘Islamophobia’: it contains its own kind of racism. The idea that Muslims must be shielded from difficult questions or from open, frank debate about the problem of radical Islam is itself racist. It infantilises Muslims.