openDemocracyUK

A follow-up to Ghazal Tipu's report

Stuart Weir
4 March 2010

OurKingdom's reviews editor responds to the recent post on the sentences received by protesters  against the Gaza war:

Ghazal Tipu's report on the disproportionately severe treatment of young Muslim protesters and the general over-reaction of the authorities demonstrates just what a panic the British state is in over the issue of terrorism and how deeply Islamophobia is seeping into British society. I remember vividly being angered at a RUSI seminar on terrorism by Hazel Blear's rhetorical urging Muslims who objected to the Iraq war to grasp the opportunities that British democracy offered them. I am not sure how many Muslim protesters then lobbied MPs, wrote to newspapers or took to the web, but they sure did turn out on the streets! To no avail as we know. If Britain is ever going to turn young militants away from terrorism, then we must offer those who are repulsed by military adventurism in a war on terror (i.e., Muslim nations) and our queasy support for Israel's oppressions real opportunities to make their voices heard without the heavy-handed policing of their words as well as of their actions. There is a real role here for liberals and democrats too to express solidarity with the majority of decent people in communities that now suffer near blanket disapprobation and who are too often denied a hearing.

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