Monday, 7 July 2008

A Rightie I can respect...

While the David Davis stunt-election-cum-future-leadership-challenge-marker tying some lefties in knots as to whether or not they should support him (the answer to me is quite obviously is NO), I've got to say my Rightie-of-choice tonight is Peter Oborne. I've just watched his Dispatches programme 'It shouldn't happen to a muslim' and I felt like giving the bloke a round of applause at the end of it.

With plenty of Righties talking themselves into believing challenging Islamic extremism is somehow comparable with WWII or the Cold War, here was a conservative finding a completely different story. He argued that the muslims were being unfairly characterised as extremists, leading to tensions in local communities and even violent attacks. Rather than wartime analogies, the comparison he drew was with earlier examples of us stigmatising minority groups, and he was particularly scathing about media coverage of muslims.

And what was best of all about it was that he didn't lessen the impact of his message by diluting it with needless caveats and qualifications (we don't need to preface every discussion about muslims by restating our opposition to religious extremism). This was a forceful attack on intolerance and ignorance and those that exacerbate the problem. I diagree with him about a lot, but on this he was absolutely spot on.

4 comments:

Nick Drew said...

well one needn't expect much by way of coherent logic from a TV polemic, but I thought it was sloppy

example (quoting from recollection)

Oborne interviews Trevor Kavanagh: puts it to him that "you'd never write that kind of thing about other minority groups - blacks, Jews (etc) ..."

TK: "yes we would, if they were harbouring the same types of extremist doing the same types of things"

[pause for commercial break, after which ...]

PO: "SO - we've seen that the media writes things about Muslims that they'd never write about other minority groups"

and so on. just polemic, I'm afraid

Charlie Marks said...

I thought it was a sloppy programme, welcome but sloppy. No mention of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - without which there would not have been home-grown terror plots in the UK.

As far as I am aware, prior to the invasion of Afghanistan, there were no arrests for Islamic extremism. I realise that the subject of the documentary was the violence and intimidation faced by Muslims, but it's all relevant.

Tom P said...

yeah I agree it was polemical, but I think it would have lost its power if it was done in a more nuanced way. personally it rings true that media coverage of the type to which muslims are currently subject would be unacceptable if it were another minority. I think he made this point fairly well when he substituted 'jew' or 'black' for 'muslim' in some sample headlines.

dunno about pre-Iraq arrests, but there were certainly concerns about extremists.

Charlie Marks said...

Prior to the invasion of Afghanistan - and later Iraq - concerns about extremism were related to Irish republicanism, Ulster loyalism, and the animal rights movement.

Let's not pretend here - all these actual and would-be suicide bombers cite foreign policy in their "martyrdom" videos. If not for the collusion by the British govt in US wars, we'd be a hell of a lot safer.