the Disillusioned kid: Conspiracy Theorists Are Fuckwits
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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Conspiracy Theorists Are Fuckwits

Parallels between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are hardly a new thing, but the political climate following September 11 and July 7 has arguably thrown them into stark contrast. The New Statesman recently ran a cover story asking whether European Islamophobia portended a new holocaust. In fact, the article by Ziauddin Sardar, doesn't raise the question of anti-Semitism at all and certainly doesn't imply we're setting the ground for new gas chambers. The suggestion, presumably having been added by the editors. For what it's worth, I tend to think the point is overstated. The scourge of Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment (intertwined, but seperate issues in my opinion) is a serious problem in western Europe and both are afforded a worrying acceptability not granted to other expressions of prejudice. That said, there is widespread of the problem, an active debate about how we should respond and considerable inter-community discussion.

Yusuf Smith has uncovered a new, worrying parallel (via):
Islamophobia in Europe is taking on yet another of the characteristics of traditional European anti-Semitism: the conspiracy theory. We’ve all heard of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forged document containing supposed plans for Jewish world domination fabricated by a Russian agent about a century ago; the tone of a Melanie Phillips diary entry revealing a similarly conspiratorial document of the authorship of members of the Muslim Brotherhood brought precisely this to mind. The Daily Ablution has published a series of articles about the 14-page document, allegedly discovered during a raid on a villa near Lugano in Switzerland by Swiss and Italian police in November 2001. “The Project”, supposedly dating from 1982, is made to sound like a plan for Muslim world domination, “a strategic plan whose ultimate ambition is ‘to establish the Kingdom of God everywhere in the world’”.
I don't like conspiracy theories at the best of times, throw racism into the mix and you've got a volatile mix. For the timebeing concern about "The Project" is peripheral, but as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, long-known to have been a foregery, demonstrate, these things have a tendency to develop a life of their own which allows them to transcend rational argument, evidence and common sense. Rather more worrying, I fear is a perception of Muslims as an "enemy within" enunciated by several commentators in the aftermath of riots in France, most prominently in the Spectator which carried a front cover depicting the UK caught in a pincer by a giant crescent straddling Europe. This, apparently, represents the "Eurabian Nightmare" which we are facing. (Isn't Boris Johnson a lovely, affable chap?) David Aaronovitch did a surprisingly good demolition of all this nonsense, but the damage may already have been done.

This kind of racist bullshit is damaging, not just for the obvious reasons. Islamophobia has long been the strongest card in the hand of western Islamists. What better way to encourage people to sign up to your puritanical political programme than point to the all too real prejudice western Muslims face from the "natives"? Furthermore, it can be used to stiffle debate within Muslim communities, weakening the potential for leftist and progressive elements within those communities to expand. You never know, if we look hard enough for a Muslim plan to annihilate us, we might just be able to create one.

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