As Jo Cox’s murderer goes to trial, I want all loyal and moderate whites to know that I stand with them.
Over the weeks and months ahead, we must do everything we can to support moderate white voices to oppose those whites who, explicitly or implicitly, give mood music to people like Tommy Mair who decide to shoot an innocent MP.
I know that many loyal and moderate whites will want to condemn this murder committed by a fellow white. We must fight the scourge of far-right terrorism wherever it rears its ugly head, and peace-loving whites must be our allies in that fight.
We should encourage whites to report to the authorities fellow whites who they suspect may be vulnerable to such acts. We should welcome #NotInMyName campaigns from moderate whites, so whites can be clear how much they abhor Tommy Mair’s act of terror. Many of these whites are loyal people, and we should praise and welcome that loyalty.
Tommy Mair clearly believed in a far-right ideology where he believed whites to be superior to those of other skin colours. To prevent radical white terror happening in future, whiteness must be reformed. Sadly reformist whites are in a minority. We must encourage the rest of the white community to support these reformists and to follow their lead.
I am not saying that all whites are bad- most certainly not. But ideas must never be above being questioned. Perhaps the murder by Tommy Mair should give us pause to reflect on whether whiteness has an inherent problem, in believing itself to be superior to other races and susceptible to such acts of terror. This is why we must support that small number of white reformists who recognise this, and who are best placed to lead the change for other whites to follow. It is also why, despite severe criticisms from the United Nations and the Council of Europe, we need the government’s Prevent strategy, which is obviously not about spying on whites as many have claimed.
On a more serious note, you will agree that all of the above is a load of nonsense. It is talking at the white community in response to a murder committed by somebody who happened to be white, holding that whole community responsible, and demanding that whole community apologise and condemn. It is suggesting that a whole community must reform and be spied on because a depraved individual chose to do something in the name of that community.
If the above made you feel patronised, marginalised, alienated and talked down to, then now you know how the British Muslim community has been made to feel for so many years now.
For anybody about to pipe up with the flawed “But Islam is not a race” argument, we all know Islam is a racialised religion that is practised by many people of brown complexion. This is why many Sikhs are caught up in Islamophobic attacks, most notably the first hate crime murder victim after 9/11 was Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh-American. And immortalised by Twitter, let’s not forget the time former Tory MP Louise Mensch embarrassingly though the blogger Sunny Hundal was Muslim- both his parents are Sikh.
Jo Cox’s murder was deeply saddening, and she will be missed by an incredible number of people. But she had spent her working life fighting for justice, including most recently working on a report about Islamophobia. I hope that the press coverage of her murder, and rightly not holding the entire white community as responsible, has shed a light on the double standards that are repeatedly applied to the British Muslim community, who are constantly held responsible as a whole after an act of violence committed by somebody who happened to be Muslim.
Our politics has lately seen far too much divisive, poisonous and populist rhetoric. Jo’s death feels like a watershed moment, where perhaps we as a country realised that all this rhetoric has gone too far. If the future leads to less populism, greater acceptance of and harmony amongst Britain’s many communities, fairness in media reporting, then these are things that can only be welcomed. It’s just a huge shame that it took such a horrific incident to lead to this.
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