Correctness and Politics
A backlash against political correctness has formed. We are told P.C. stands in the way of defeating terrorism. It hinders our ability to brand all Muslims as extremists. It is also notable that this argument aids our acceptance of racism.
Intolerance Masking as 'Conscientious Secular Liberalism'
"Malicious generalizations about Islam have become the last acceptable form of denigration of foreign culture in the West; what is said about the Muslim mind, or character, or religion, or culture as a whole cannot now be said in mainstream discussion about Africans, Jews, other Orientals, or Asians."
(Professor Edward Said, Covering Islam, xii, 1997)
Since September 11th Islam has been a permanent fixture in the comment pages of almost all newspapers in the UK. In the main, columnists - following our Prime Minister Tony Blair's excellent example - have been careful to distinguish between the actions of a few terrorists (note, not Muslim terrorists or Islamic terrorists, but terrorists pure and simple) and the mainstream Muslim community.
In the UK, we have learned over the years how to distinguish between the actions of an extremist minority like the Real IRA and all Republicans. We would never regard all Republicans as being extremists or hold the Catholic faith to be in any way to blame for the actions of the extremists.
Unfortunately, over the last few weeks there has been a disturbing increase in the number of articles appearing in the press in which some writers have taken the unacceptable actions of a few members of the British Muslim community and used them to try and tar the whole community with the same broad brush. This is both irresponsible and in the current circumstances extremely inflammatory.