There is, in medicine, a well known problem where a prescribed 'treatment' is focused on the symptoms the patient suffers, and does nothing at all for the actual condition. So it is in politics, when a Minister chooses to address the symptom and not the cause. "Islamaphobia" is a symptom of perceived threat to our lifestyle, our heritage and culture and - as graphically illustrated last week by the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby - to our lives as well. So announcing that 'measures are being put in place to deal with the problem of Islamaphobia' is a case of treating the symptom and not the cause. This article in The Commentator came to my attention yesterday, and sums up the problem very well.
Why are people concerned about the Islamification of our cities and the increasing sense of being under seige to surrender our culture and our legal system to "Islamists"? In part it is the manner in which the media presents certain events and discussions - or doesn't. There was wide coverage of the two murderers and their (garbled) rationale for their actions. Clearly they believe that their actions were an appropriate response to what they see as 'war on Islam'. The rest of us don't share that view, and nor do most Muslims, but there has been a blatant attempt by the media to downplay the religious aspect - in some instances a deathly silence about their faith - and yet it is well known that had this involved a "Christian on Muslim" or a "Jew on Muslim" attack, the "religious" aspect would have been headlines. That makes people wonder who is covering something up.
The problem is not people's "fear" of Islam, but their dislike and, yes, fear of the ever increasing number of angry bearded young Muslims brandishing placards proclaiming their intent to overthrow English law and culture and replace it with Sharia Law and "Islamic Culture". The fear is promoted by the sight of entire streets in the Capital that are now the almost exclusive preserve of people in Arab dress, of whole sections that resemble a Far Eastern city rather than the familiar English pattern. Parts of our cities where English is hardly heard, and where young English girls and boys fear to tread unless in groups - and even then they don't always feel safe. The fear is further heightened when they see councils increasingly promoting "Islamic values" and "Islamic dress", or sending out notices to school children, parents, householders and tenants in every language except English.
People are not, I would suggest, "phobic" about the religion, or their colour, or even their desire to preserve aspects of their culture or heritage. What makes people afraid is the threat of extremist behaviour, the demonstrations at the funerals of soldiers, the burning of poppies at Remembrance Sunday parades - or, as recently, the suspension of employees by a supermarket chain for daring to wear a poppy in memory of Lee Rigby. The root cause of this fear is in the perception that our nation is slowly being taken from us by those with a "politically correct" agenda, who seem to admire anyone else's culture, and value the rights of minorities far more highly than those of the native English. "Integration" is now regarded by the political classes as a dirty word, to be equated with National Socialism or "Apartheid" so they address the incorrectly named symptom of their own failure to address the real issue, the rampant spread of the influence of extremists in the name of Islam in our cities and towns.
"Islamaphobia" is a buzzword, and like most buzzwords, it is a false premise. A "phobia" is an irrational fear, a groundless one with no foundation in reality. The fear people are afraid to express, least they be accused of racism or hatred of a religion, is not irrational, nor is it groundless, it is based in the actions and attitudes of a few Islamists who are a very real threat to our society and our peace - but who, for reasons only they can know, our political classes refuse to deal with.
It is far easier to accuse the rest of us of being "Islamaphobic".