Getty and Twitter
Show Hide image

Every day is “Punish a Muslim Day” for British Muslims

You don’t need a hateful letter to help you punish Muslims. Here’s how it’s usually done.

Over the last week, anonymous letters were posted to various addresses in at least five cities across the UK, calling for a day of action to punish Muslims.
The letters, which were received by various citizens in Bradford, Cardiff, Leicester, London and Sheffield, called on the public to commit violent acts against Muslims, with a points system based on the severity of the crime.

Twenty-five points for pulling “a head-scarf off a Muslim ‘woman’”, 500 points for murdering a Muslim, and 2,500 points for “nuking Mecca”.

But this call-to-action is futile. Not least because the cold weather means you shouldn’t waste your time pulling off this “woman’s” scarf – there will be two hats and a hood underneath.

Judging by the letter, Islamophobes don’t believe in mathematics (who can blame them, since algebra was invented by pesky Muslims?), so they’ve struggled to work out a logical points system. Nuking Mecca is the same value as five dead Muslims? And here I was thinking our lives weren’t worth very much…

The sender of this letter also needs a lesson in irony, since they instruct recipients not to follow orders like “sheep”, while simultaneously dishing out instructions to them.

Clearly this white supremacist doesn’t understand Muslims one bit, and, incidentally, needs to pay more attention when at their local Bingo hall.

So here is my 12-point punishment plan for those of you who really want to penalise your Muslim neighbours. It’s so simple, people are already following it – and have been for a long time:

Homogenise Muslims

Muslims are European, Asian, African, Arab, British. We don’t all wear the same clothes or think the same thing. In fact, there’s very little that all Muslims agree on, except Tony Blair and Marmite. Dry, salty and with the consistency of rotten fruit, all Muslims agree that Tony Blair should disappear from politics and public life.

Put bacon on our door handles

Because no Islamophobia campaign is complete without bacon, the Muslim kryptonite.

Change your name to Mohammed

As you know, us Muslims love to complain about the “discrimination” we face. We had a good old moan when they tried to ban the hijab in primary schools, Ahmeds claim that their names prevent them from finding employment (they must be underqualified), and people with Muslim names face higher insurance premiums, when they’re clearly just worse drivers.

You can fight the Muslim melodrama and paranoia by changing your name to Mohammed, just to prove that we were making it up all along and there’s no “discrimination” whatsoever.

Tell us that colonialism is irrelevant today

Because the fact that most British Muslims are descended from countries that Britain colonised doesn’t excuse our dilution of white Britain. Tell Muslims to “get over” the past, just like you’re totally over David Beckham’s red card in the World Cup in 1998. And that was way more serious.

Create no-parking areas around mosques

Every Muslim knows that our greatest gripe is finding parking during Friday prayers.

Complain about Muslim integration

While there is a long tradition among Islamophobes to complain about how Muslims don’t integrate in Britain, a more modern spin on this punishment is to criticise Muslim participation in British society.

Somehow we simultaneously assimilate and fail to assimilate. Like the Schrodinger’s Cat of integration. So ask us how dare a Muslim win the Great British Bake Off? How dare a Muslim win Olympic gold medals for Britain? How dare a Muslim become Mayor of London?

And in the same breath, rail against our failure “to integrate” or “learn the language”.

Don’t show up to your GP appointments

Boy, do your Muslim doctors hate this. It also puts an unnecessary strain on the NHS, which apparently you love since you’re already calling for assault and murder.

During the month of Ramadan, ask us “Not even water?” repeatedly

Send us gift vouchers

It is well-known that it is against the Muslim religion to accept gift vouchers, especially for restaurants including but not limited to Nandos, Tinseltown and Charcoal Grill. Nothing offends a Muslim as much as receiving such gift vouchers, so this is an ideal way to get us riled up. We also hate receiving boxes of chocolates and all Muslims are allergic to those delicious (apparently) punnets of bitesize millionaire’s shortbread.

Grow out your beard

Muslim men despise seeing non-Muslims imitating their centuries-old tradition of growing out a beard. In this day and age, it has become quite popular to copy the fashion styles of Muslims, so this is an easy way to score points. Side-effects include being pulled aside for extra security at the airport and being mistaken for a hipster.

Eat at Muslim-run restaurants

Muslims know you enjoy eating a sly curry as much as the next person. Just because you hate Turks, doesn’t mean you can’t chow down on a lahmacun. Well, actually, it should stop you, but we all know it doesn’t, so you can have your racism and eat it.

Stop attacking Sikhs, Hindus, other people of colour

To be an Islamophobe above the rest you must be economical with your resources. Despite what you’ve been told, citizens of the world are not categorized into “white” and “other”. A Sikh is not a Muslim. A Hindu is not a Muslim.

A quick Wikipedia search will make it much easier for you to determine which of your fellow citizens qualifies for your “dirty Muzzie” verbal abuse. If you’re going to be an Islamophobe, for the love of God at least be accurate about it.


Easy when you know how!

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Michael Carrick is the “Geordie Pirlo” that England misunderstood

The Manchester United legend’s retirement announcement should leave Three Lions fans wondering what if?

That it came in the months leading up to a World Cup arguably added an exclamation point to the announcement of Michael Carrick’s impending retirement. The Manchester United midfielder, who is expected to take up a coaching role with the club afterwards, will hang up his boots at the end of the season. And United boss Jose Mourinho’s keenness to keep Carrick at Old Trafford in some capacity only serves to emphasise how highly he rates the 36-year-old.

But Carrick’s curtain call in May will be caveated by one striking anomaly on an otherwise imperious CV: his international career. Although at club level Carrick has excelled – winning every top tier honour a player based in England possibly can – he looks set to retire with just 34 caps for his country, and just one of those was earned at a major tournament.

This, in part, is down to the quality of competition he has faced. Indeed, much of the conversation around England’s midfield in the early to mid-noughties centred on finding a system that could accommodate both box-to-box dynamos Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard.

As time went on, however, focus shifted towards trequartistas, advanced playmakers and those with more mobile, harrying playing styles. And the likes of Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Jordan Henderson and Dele Alli were brought into the frame more frequently than Carrick, whose deep-lying capabilities were not utilised to their full potential. That nearly 65 per cent of Carrick’s England caps have come in friendlies shows how undervalued he was. 

In fairness, Carrick does not embody similar characteristics to many of his England midfield contemporaries, including a laudable lack of ego. He is not blessed with lung-busting pace, nor is he enough of a ball-winner to shield a back four solo. Yet his passing and distribution satisfy world-class criteria, with a range only matched, as far as England internationals go, by his former United team-mate Paul Scholes, who was also misused when playing for his country.

Rather, the player Carrick resembles most isn’t English at all; it’s Andrea Pirlo, minus the free-kicks. When comparisons between the mild-mannered Geordie and Italian football’s coolest customer first emerged, they were dismissed in some quarters as hyperbole. Yet watching Carrick confirm his retirement plans this week, perfectly bearded and reflecting on a trophy-laden 12-year spell at one of world football’s grandest institutions, the parallels have become harder to deny.

Michael Carrick at a press event ahead of Manchester United's Champions League game this week. Photo: Getty.

Where other players would have been shown the door much sooner, both Pirlo and Carrick’s efficient style of play – built on patience, possession and precision – gifted them twilights as impressive as many others’ peaks. That at 36, Carrick is still playing for a team in the top two of the top division in English football, rather than in lower-league or moneyed foreign obscurity, speaks volumes. At the same age, Pirlo started for Juventus in the Champions League final of 2015.

It is ill health, not a decline in ability, which is finally bringing Carrick’s career to a close. After saying he “felt strange” during the second-half of United’s 4-1 win over Burton Albion earlier this season, he had a cardiac ablation procedure to treat an irregular heart rhythm. He has since been limited to just three more appearances this term, of which United won two. 

And just how key to United’s success Carrick has been since his £18m signing from Tottenham in 2006 cannot be overstated. He was United’s sole signing that summer, yielding only modest excitement, and there were some Red Devils fans displeased with then manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s decision to assign Carrick the number 16 jersey previously worn by departed captain Roy Keane. Less than a year later, though, United won their first league title in four years. The following season, United won the league and Champions League double, with Carrick playing 49 times across all competitions.

Failing to regularly deploy Carrick in his favoured role – one that is nominally defensive in its position at the base of midfield, but also creative in providing through-balls to the players ahead – must be considered one of the most criminal oversights of successive England managers’ tenures. Unfortunately, Carrick’s heart condition means that current boss Gareth Southgate is unlikely to be able to make amends this summer.

By pressing space, rather than players, Carrick compensates for his lack of speed by marking passing channels and intercepting. He is forever watching the game around him and his unwillingness to commit passes prematurely and lose possession is as valuable an asset as when he does spot an opening.

Ultimately, while Carrick can have few regrets about his illustrious career, England fans and management alike can have plenty. Via West Ham, Spurs and United, the Wallsend-born émigré has earned his billing as one of the most gifted midfielders of his generation, but he’d never let on.

Rohan Banerjee is a Special Projects Writer at the New Statesman. He co-hosts the No Country For Brown Men podcast.