Old hatred, new style

“English exams are a red herring. But more worryingly, Cryer’s comments are an illustration of how nakedly some liberals are prepared to exploit mainstream anti-Islamic sentiments, especially at a time when they are converging with those of the far right as it tries to convince the country that it does indeed have a ‘Muslim problem’.

“Not that the far right needs any encouragement. Its rediscovered swagger partly owes itself to a new strategy that is soft on race and hard on Islam. If you missed hearing BNP leader Nick Griffin saying so on BBC’s Newsnight, take a moment to visit the National Front website.

“It was only a matter of time before the far right tapped into the western world’s latent, if largely unfounded, fear of Islam. Its problem with Islam stretches back at least 1,000 years to the time of Pope Urban’s first crusade, finding expression in art, literature, popular culture and, most perniciously today, in the mass media.”

Faisal Bodi in the Guardian, 27 July 2001