Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Gathering storm

"The people of Nuremberg voted overwhelmingly in 1930, in a referendum proposed by the Nazi Party, not to submit to Jewish Law." Did it really happen? Probably not, but what has happened is that the good people of Oklahoma have voted overwhelmingly not to submit to Islamic Sharia Law, although nobody has ever suggested that they should.

Islamophobia seems to rise and rise in America, peddled quite openly by the Republican Right. The Oklahoma vote shows how fear, disgust and rank ignorance can be exploited to become a mass movement. In theory the U.S. Constitution should make this impossible, but we have already seen what a fragile protection it offers when the Government decides to authorize secret surveillance, torture by extraordinary rendition and imprisonment without trial in on off-shore prison camp.

The occupation of Iraq continues by another name. The war in Afghanistan is clearly unwinnable. Pakistan is in a state of undeclared civil war. Egypt is edging towards a North-Korean type of succession. How many more Islamic-majority countries will America try to control before admitting defeat, and what will be the consequences for the world? As Muslims say "Allah alone knows".

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