Booker Prize winner Ian McEwan has said that criticising Islam is not racist, however, the credibility of such an argument would depend on the nature of the criticism, particularly since he appears to ignore that the majority of terrorists are non-Muslim. Regarding the latter point, we must instead consider why Muslims are the primary focus of anti-terrorism strategies, with the resulting impact of being negatively stereotyped as a group. It is due to views such as McEwan's and the associated rises in Islamophobia that organisations such as the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) are now working on addressing the areas of concern by educating and spreading knowledge about Islam and Muslims.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of stereotyping as a result of the message given and received by government security services and public sectors in scrutinising Muslims and forwarding names of those suspected of radicalisation. There’s no exact science to what should warrant a suspicion, other than subjective opinions about anyone who prays at a Mosque, wears Islamic dress or disagrees with the war on terror. This is just one example of strategies that alienate good Muslims rather than dealing with the bad ones.
Consequently, racism and attacks against Muslims are on the rise, and a lot of work needs to be done in response. However, it is counterproductive when those focusing on the issues are apostates, ex-extremists and liberals who have their own agendas which involve drawing negative attention toward Muslims. Yvonne Ridley rightly argues this is an increasing phenomenon,
The fashion for being Islamophobic is stronger than ever in the media and it doesn’t help when you have more self-confessed extremists and Islamists scuttling to kiss and tell their stories than a pack of WAGS past their sell-by date
The likes of failed extremist turned failed counter-extremist, Ed (ashamed of his full name) Husain), cause negative attention against Muslims in identifying the “radical threat among us” in order to sell advice to the government as counter-extremism experts. This in fact ignores the very important point that Muslims as a community are not the problem, and we can understand this by acknowledging the following key points.
1. The Muslim threat is quite simply not factual as the majority of terrorist incidents in America and Europe are carried out by non-Muslims. Official FBI records show that only 6% of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil from 1980 to 2005 were carried out by Islamic extremists. The remaining 94% were by other groups (42% by Latinos, 24% by extreme left wing groups, 7% by extremist Jews, 5% by Communists, and 16% by all other groups).