The Times reported this week that a Christian girl was placed in the foster care of a Muslim girl in the UK. Not only is it stirring controversy because foster children are supposed to be placed with carers of similar background; there are also allegations that the Muslim carer asked the girl to remove her cross, desist from eating pork, and transmitted negative comments about ‘Western’ women.
The right-wing media have seized on this case. Headlines such as “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care” have meant that the discussion is not about broken homes, absentee fathers, or even the deficencies of the State. It has become (predictably) another opportunity for bashing Muslims. The tone of the debate is akin to anti-Jewish propaganda of yesteryear, where Christian children were alleged to have been abducted.
It’s not that there shouldn’t be public concern. Children should be placed with those of cultural compatibility. If that is not possible, then the parents ‘of last resort’ should be culturally sensitive.
But, and this is the crux of the matter, what right do the Tory media have to lecture people on inter-community relations? Every week, there are lies, exxagerations, and de-contextualized reports, which have as their goal the demonizing of Muslims. Famous examples include a Sun front-page which (falsely) claimed a fifth of British Muslims support ISIS. A Daily Mail cartoon portrayed destitute Syrian refugees fleeing war as rats and terrorists.
These are not isolated instances and there is a whole hate industry among right-wing commentators, politicians, and lobbyists in the UK. Their aim is that of forcing Muslims, through Goebbels like propaganda, to submit to ‘British values,’ a euphemism for Anglo-Saxon Protestant triumphalism. Curiously enough, part of that campaign involves controlling Muslim dietary habits by banning halal meat, a campaign of hypocrisy because Jewish kosher meat, killed exactly the same as halal, does not enter into the debate.
So right-wingers are basically no different from the woman in Tower Hamlets, in fact worse because they have public responsibilities. Right-wingers (whingers!?) will say it’s their legal right to speak freely (go back to your country if you don’t respect our values, etc …) If that’s the case, then the Muslim woman in question (who had no control over which children she receives in case the headlines make you believe otherwise) can speak freely about white women or control what is eaten in her house. See how unreasonable the British right-wing are?
In truth, the right-wing press have created an environment of hate. They are cry-baby bullies in the playground who engage in systematic intimidation. Do they stop and think about the psychological distress they cause Muslim children who have to live with their grotesque fabrications?
Let’s paraphrase the Gospel (the Islamic Injeel) to them; they look at the splinter in the others’ eye, but don’t see the plank in their own. If they don’t like sectarian hatred, then they should do unto others. Otherwise, they look like buffoons. And the tragedy of broken homes deserves a better fate than being shoehorned into the UK right-wing Hate-apalooza.
[UPDATE (31/8/17): Since this post was published, court papers have revealed that the child in question did come from a partially Muslim background. Details of the case are more complex than first reported. There is also a controversy over pictures published by the Daily Mail in which a Muslim woman wearing hijab holding a child’s hand was photoshopped so that the woman was wearing a full face cover, the intention that of stirring racist attitudes.]