Friday, 12 January 2007

Respect in the Oxford Mail

Oxford Respect responds to a recent letter in the Oxford Mail:

To the Editor

So, your correspondent John Monaghan is ‘fed up’ with ‘Muslim fanatics’? Well, I am fed up with the constant vilification directed at Muslims. I am not a Muslim myself, but I am angered by the continual singling out of Muslims for abuse, because history shows how dangerous it can be when a minority is scapegoated. Muslims are constantly portrayed in the media as terrorists, and minor aspects of the some Muslims’ lifestyles (such as the veil or head-scarf) are seized upon for criticism by Labour politicians who want to distract attention from their disastrous and criminal war in Iraq. We never hear of other religious groups being subjected to the same treatment – when are Church leaders ever asked to condemn or apologise for George Bush’s ‘Christian’ fundamentalism? When did a politician last attack a vicar’s dog-collar or a nun’s veil for being “a visible statement of separation and of difference”?

I know that Muslim groups in Oxford are working hard to challenge negative stereotypes about Islam, and to emphasise the non-violent teachings of their faith. But the rest of us need to show our solidarity, and speak out against the lies and stereotypes peddled about Islam and Muslims, which are designed to divide our communities. That’s why we in Oxford Respect have invited a speaker from the Oxford Islam and Muslim Awareness project to our next meeting (Tues 16th Jan, 7.30, in the Town Hall).

Michael Evans

On behalf of Oxford Respect

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