Press TV has conducted an interview1 with Shabbir Hassanally, an activist and Islamic scholar in London, about attackers ripping the hijab off a Muslim woman while picking up her children after school in London2.
The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
Press TV: First of all what do you make of this recent attack? It sounds that for a Muslim woman now it is quite dangerous to go out on the streets of London?
Hassanally: I think what is happening not just in London but across the world, there is this sort of hidden or sort of latent Islamophobia that is being promoted very covertly, very gently, if you like, and it has been happening for quite a long time. Some people would say from 9/11, I would say from long before 9/11. When Muslims and other people who are not part of the proverbial mainstream of a given European country, I consider this something like the other and as you have recessions, as you have financial difficulties in a country, you have some of the most simple-minded people like these two women who attacked the Muslim lady. They sort of come out of the woodwork and I do not believe it is a case of these people were told by the security services to go and attack this woman as some people might have believed.
It is more about creating a climate where there is a hatred and there is a fear because fear obviously brings hatred of the Muslims and they see this Muslim lady, they see this essentially what they might classify as a foreigner, taking her child to private school, there is a degree of jealousy that gets built-up and all of this is promoted very latently, very sort of subtly by the mainstream media.
If you look at the way they talk about Islam, if you look at the sort of information they show about people like Daesh and the fear they generate about Muslims, you see someone with a hijab immediately they are of the opinion this person is going to blow us up whereas the mainstream people do not think very clearly. At the end of the day, you have to understand the mainstream people are not thinking at all. They are literally controlled by that little box in the corner of their living room and they are constantly given this information that Muslims and anyone who is different or anyone who has a head scarf, this is bad person, they are going to blow up your plane, they are going to blow up your house, and this sort of crazy stuff.
And so some of them, the more gullible, the more weak-minded go ahead and take things into their own hands and they go in, sort of vent on people. The reality of the problem should be understood from what it is. It is the establishment and gets built up in Europe, in America, in the West, even across the world who are promoting this idea that it is designed to prevent people learning about Islam and ironically in some cases, even some of the Muslims are not doing the Muslims any favours, are acting like idiots. I used the term “Muslim” loosely because people who are supportive of Daesh, people who explicitly say things which are not productive and sort of incite hate, these people do not help the situation.
Press TV: Mr Hassanally let me just jump in there. We have seen though this fear of other being concentrated upon Islam and Muslims for a while now, be it this recent incident in London or the mosque burnings in Sweden or the PEGIDA movement that started off in Germany. Why is it that this fear of the other is concentrated upon Islam and Muslims?
Hassanally: Well if you look at the lobbies that control a lot of the governments in this part of the world, you will see a lot of the lobbies receive their money from people who are supportive of Zionism either within what we call occupied Palestine or from the American Stage and places like this. And essentially it is about money.
You find a few weak-minded people and you create a group like the EDL and you create a group like PEGIDA. You have some programs on the internet, on mainstream media which push the idea that the Muslims are bad. Why did they push the idea that Muslims are bad? Because if we look at who the Zionist lobby and those people sympathetic to Zionism are supportive of and are helping, they are trying to further establish the Zionist project in the Middle East region. The only thing stopping that or at least standing in the face of it, happens to be Muslims. Irony is it is not the only thing stopping or preventing it, you have also got the Christians in Palestine. And this again comes back down to the weak-mindedness of the mass of people, the population.
If the people actually understood that for example, the head scarf is attire which is worn by Muslims, Christians and Jews. It is not exclusive to Islam. The fact that Christianity and Judaism have been so eroded and so moved away from what the original divine commandments were is a secondary discussion but this is again down to the ignorance that has been fed to people.
And so like I said the weak-minded people come along and they get excited by all of this and ultimately you have got people in the background, you have got entities in the background who are sort of promoting this, not so much is, they are explicitly going out and doing this, no. They have an agenda …
Press TV: And so you would put the finger on governments and certain corporations for allowing this to happen and even setting up the context and framework within which such hatemongering can be fostered?
Hassanally: Absolutely. At the end of the day the governments and large organisations have a responsibility to the population and instead of creating a scenario with the population of easy fighting each other, they should be creating harmony within the people. They should be explaining that for example, Daesh does not represent Islam but instead we have seen many, many times all they do as is they say, Daesh is Sunni and I do not know, this other group is Shia and they are killing each other and they do this and then they say the 9/11 people were Sunni and all of this sort of stuff. They throw words around instead of giving the reality and so it creates a climate.
Ultimately you have to understand what is the benefit of that. If we look at the governments in the western world today, there is no one democracy. There might have been democracies in name, they might have this label of democracy, but in reality, it is not the rule of the people by the people for the people as per places the idea of a Republic which is what democracy is allegedly based on. It is the rule of a very, very small clique who manipulate the people, make the people feel like oh yes, you know you go to the ballot box, you vote and it is all good. You have elected such and such person in and he is going to make a difference but they have no interest in making a difference. Otherwise, we would not have the homeless problems, we would not have the crime, we would not have the NHS and the education system all being decimated by these people who claim to be working in favour of the people. So this requires a lot more reflection.
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- The interview was conducted by Press TV for its Top 5 program on June 8, 2015
- The full story can be found here with the headline Attackers rip hijab off Muslim young woman in London