27 juin 2006

 

Gary Younge on Racism

"Some people in Britain have a problem with Muslims organising themselves by taking part in the anti-war movement and in political formations such as Respect. Can we learn anything from the US civil rights movements about the relationship between religion and the politics of change?

The civil rights movement is a very good example. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Louis Farrakhan all came out of religion. It was the only base that black people could organise from. In the US you can see that religion can be used in a reactionary way. But it can also be used in an incredibly progressive way. If people are attacked on the basis of their religion, then they will partly organise their response on a basis of that religion.

Religion doesn't scare me. I'm not going to change my views on lesbian and gay rights to satisfy an imam, and I wouldn't have changed them to satisfy Martin Luther King either. But you choose to make connections on the basis of where people are, otherwise you are choosing not to connect with them at all.

With Muslims in Britain we have a group of people being attacked on the basis of their religion, and I'm going to make connections with them. I don't remember people saying about the Republican struggle in the north of Ireland, "Ooh, Catholics!" The Republican struggle was broadly a progressive struggle for national autonomy and was rightly supported. Any movement worth its salt should be making alliances. We made alliances in Nicaragua — we didn't turn them down because of the position of the Catholic church on abortion.

It worries me that some people have been incapable of understanding the response of the Muslim community in Britain. They can only critique what Muslims are doing through religion — not through race, not through class, not through internationalism, only through religion. What they are really looking at is a reflection of their own prejudices, which is a terrible way to go."

Read the full interview with the Guardian journalist here
Socialist Review
(June 2006).

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