Cartoon protests: uniting against Islamophobia

“The anger following the publication of racist depictions of the prophet Mohammed in a Danish newspaper, and their republication across Europe, has continued to find expression in meetings and protests. And the right wing columnists and politicians have continued to pump out their bile. First Islamophobia, the last ‘respectable’ form of racism, was used in an attempt to scare Muslims into submission. Then, when some dared to protest against the onslaught, Muslims were once more attacked for daring to assert themselves. Trevor Kavanagh, writing in the Sun on Monday of this week, was typical. ‘The strident voice of assertive Islam is here to stay,’ he wrote. ‘Flames are being fanned to intimidate the West and its allies in the Muslim world.’ He evoked the image of ‘women walking the streets of Britain wearing Taliban-style burkas’. Italian government minister Roberto Calderoli, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League party, wore a T-shirt with the cartoons on them. After an outcry he was forced to resign from the right wing government. But continued racism has not silenced Muslims, or those on the left who remain determined to defend them.”

Joseph Choonara looks at the discussion on how to fight back after thousands of people have protested over the publication of racist cartoons.

Socialist Worker, 25 February 2006