The Silence of the Liberals
Nick Cohen argues the liberal left is failing Muslims fighting inequalities endorsed by culture and religion in their communities. He calls this the 'racism of the anti-racist'.
Observer columnist and writer Nick Cohen thinks mainstream liberal culture and left-wing politicians are failing to help progressive Muslims who want to fight inequalities endorsed by culture and religion in their communities. He calls this the "racism of the anti-racist".
Forty years ago, Edward Said coined the term "Orientalism" to condemn the West's patronising representations of the "exotic" East, whose inhabitants were too irrational to handle the freedoms Americans and Europeans enjoyed.
In this programme, Nick Cohen examines evidence that this old colonial condescension is re-emerging in 2018, He interviews frustrated Muslims tackling discrimination - Muslims who feel betrayed by the Liberal left who, they say, should be their natural allies in their campaigning for women's rights and tackling discrimination such as homophobia in Muslim communities.
In this authored documentary, Nick draws from the experiences of a range of organisations and progressive Muslim individuals - Tell Mama which supports victims of anti-Muslim hate crime, Maryam Namazie from One Law for All campaigning for women's rights against Islamic Sharia law and Jewish Beth din courts, and Amina Lone who says her outspoken views including a campaign against young girls wearing the hijab in school led to her losing her seat as a Manchester city councillor. The local Labour party failed to re-select her, blaming her attendance record.
Tell Mama founder Fiyaz Mugal's said that those who'raised their head above the parapet to speak out were intimidated and threatened, not only by the white far right but also by Islamist extremists, while Maajid Nawaz founder of counter-extremism organisation Quilliam was on a Jihadist's hit list.
A Juniper production for BBC Radio 4.