Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
30 November 2009

God (or Allah) bless the UK

The Swiss referendum shows why Britain is the best place for Muslims

By Mehdi Hasan

The British media’s relentlessly negative and inaccurate coverage of Islam and Muslims gets me down. So does the fact that “some . . . counter-terrorism powers will be disproportionately experienced by the Muslim community” (to quote the then Home Office minister Hazel Blears). The rise of the BNP ain’t great, either. Nor is the arrival of Lord Pearson. And BBC1’s Spooks, on which I’m hooked, can often be a depressing watch, with its rotating bevy of Muslim baddies.

It’s tough being a Muslim in Britain — as I’m sure the comment thread below will soon demonstrate.

But imagine living in a European country where 57.5 per cent of the population votes to ban the construction of minarets on mosques in a national referendum — even though there are only four mosques with minarets in the whole country.

“Disproportionate” or what? The mind boggles . . .

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

Never have I been more pleased or proud to be a British Muslim — rather than a Swiss, French, German, Italian or Danish one. God bless the UK!

Content from our partners
The shrinking road to net zero
The tree-planting misconception
Is your business ready for corporate climate reporting?

 

UPDATE: Anthony Wells, over at UK Polling Report, has this fascinating, but perhaps disturbing, insight into the pre-referendum polling:

Over the weekend Switzerland voted in a referendum to ban minarets (the spires on mosques from which Muslims are called to prayer). The result of the vote was 57.5% in favour. Interestingly, though, the final poll before the referendum showed the opposite — voting intention in the referendum stood at 37% YES and 53% NO . . . What strikes me . . . is that it’s also the perfect example of the sort of question where there would be a high risk of social desirability bias . . . People may not have felt able to admit to a interviewer (the polls were conducted by phone) that they were going to vote in favour of a policy targetting Muslims and the “socially desirable” thing would have been to say they were voting against it.

Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter