The Reality of the Muslim Race and Its Implications

by Farouk A. Peru

The evil attack on the soldier Lee Rigby last Wednesday has shocked the nation terribly. Two Jihadists took the threat of Islamic terrorism to a whole new level by targeting a soldier and hacking him to death on a London street. The reactive anger from the British public was swift and natural. The English Defence League congregated that very night in protest and Islamophobic attacks ‘spiked’ as is normally the case when something like this happens. In the face of this backlash, I hope to identify a race – the Muslim race. I believe understanding the race element in this whole tragedy is crucial to stem the tide of negativity facing the world.

I have a fear  that one day this will happen – Some far right chaps (possibly the aforementioned EDL)  will corner me somewhere and that will be end of me. That would be one ironic day indeed. Ironic because I am utterly opposed to Jihadism and Sharia law. Given the opportunity, I could expound for hours on why both Jihadism and Sharia law are antithetical to the teachings of the Quran. However, on that fateful day, I doubt those far right chaps would rent some lecture theatre to hear me speak. Rather they would simply kick my head in because I have the ‘Muslim appearance’. The ‘Muslim appearance’ is a key concept in understanding  the Muslim race.

I had been incubating this idea of the Muslim race for years now. That Muslims are only theoretically defined by the religion they profess, Islam. I say ‘theoretically’ one cannot tell a person’s religion by simply looking at them unless one employs stereotyping of some sort. In real life, this inquiry into a person’s religious views simply does not happen. Instead, there is an immediate, instantaneous practical level which operates somewhat independently of theory.

Today, on the day terror returned to our streets, I caught the phrase ‘Muslim appearance’  on  the BBC (they have since apologised for this) when I was reading about this evil act.  It was a very interesting phrase indeed because when I read it, I pictured the Islamic robes,  skullcap and beard and yet when the video of one of the assailants finally emerged, he did not have the Muslim look at all. He looked like a typical youth one would find in Woolwich and would never second guess. Perhaps the BBC meant he had the ‘Muslim sound’ as he was reported to have yelled ‘Allahu akbar’. (God is the Greatest). All the news channels repeated this report endlessly, carefully enunciating ‘Allahu akbar’ and thus firmly nailing the coffin for us Muslims once again.

Why is this idea of the ‘Muslim appearance’ so important to note? Because, during the time of emergencies, there is simply no time to investigate any other possibility. How a person looks in that split second will determine your reaction towards him. When a 75 year old man, Mr Mohamed Saleem was knifed to death in Birmingham some weeks ago, it is not likely that the racially-motivated murderer sat down with him to have a chat about his notion of jihad and sharia law or whether he hated the Queen. No, the murderer simply caught the ‘Muslim appearance’ and acted upon it. Google the picture of ‘Mohamed Saleem Birmingham’ and you’ll see one version of the Muslim appearance.

Racism is all about this – stereotyping a group of people based upon superficial signals. You perceive the Muslim look and you react. This is why Muslims – on a purely practical and perceptive level – is a race or at the very least, a collection of races. We have a variety of perceptive signals due to our looks and invoke a variety of reactions. These reactions could be negative or if they come from another Muslim, very positive. I have been given the ‘salaam’ (Islamic greeting) by Muslims I’ve never met when I fail to shave for a week or two even though I do not believe keeping a beard is a religious duty (I was just being lazy!). I have no doubt that those who gave me the ‘salaam’ did so out of reverence for the religion but shouldn’t ‘salaam’ (a greeting conveying peace) be for everyone? The Quran certainly looks at it that way (Quran Ch 4 , Vs 86)

Let us consider the Muslim race from another angle – imagine if you were a Japanese individual living in the USA during world war two. If you were interned, then it would not be because you supported the imperialist agenda of Japan. Rather it would be because you were of a certain heritage. I would even imagine that even other oriental looking individuals were checked before it could be ascertained that they were not Japanese (by checking their names maybe!). The Japanese, like the Muslims, have very distinct names. Once again, a cultural grouping was the criteria behind a political manoeuvre rather than ideology. Virtually the same thing is happening now.

It is not just Muslims who are affected by this ‘Muslim appearance’ either. People of other religions (or indeed no religion at all) can be affected by it as well. Jean Charles de Menezes, the poor Brazilian man who was killed by British police on a counter-terrorism operation in 2005 is an example of this. Jean Charles looked unmistakeably Syrian or Lebanese. Had he looked English, would that have happened to him? And what about the poor Sikh man who was killed in the aftermath of 9/11. Once again, ‘foreign look’, facial hair, turban and no investigation. He simply sported the ‘Muslim appearance’ and paid dearly for it.

Muslim women are obviously included in this ‘Muslim look’ idea as well. How can they not be? Muslim women tend to wear their famous hijabs. With the hijabs, even white and black Muslim women would be easily identified. It is such an unambiguous sign of being part of the Muslim race. It is a universal and highly politicised symbol of the Islamic race. Ironic considering many Muslims including myself don’t even consider the hijab as part of Islamic dress but again, it is not about being religiously correct. Its overtness makes it an easy symbol to identify. In the aftermath of any act of Islamic terrorism, Muslim hijabi women are those who need to be the most careful.

Muslim names greatly help the construction of a Muslim race as well. In the recent sex gangs expose where the perpetrators were British Pakistani, one did not even have that fact mentioned. All one had to do was to mention the culturally distinct names. Most of the names were not only ‘Muslim’ but they were of Muslim of a certain origin. This is yet another indication of the Muslim race. The names are unmistakeable and thus give an instantaneous perception of the ‘Muslim appearance’.

If  you agree with the arguments I made above, we are presented with the reality of the Muslim race. If Muslims are a indeed race, then targeting them is an act of racism.  I am arguing this because for those people who attack Muslims then say ‘this is not being racist, Islam is a religion not a race’, your excuse is pathetic. Those Muslims who were were never asked about their views. If the attackers, I am fairly certain that their views would not be radical, let alone Jihadi. Indeed you may have attacked a Muslim who is actually an atheist. Yes they do exist. They simply retain Muslim cultural signals but stopped believing in God. Even more ironically, they may not even be Muslim at all but simply look Muslim on their race. Have a look at Richard Dart (White British Jihadi) before he grew his beard and you would probably think he belonged to the EDL rather than to the Jihadis. You would simply never know this unless you sat and spoke with them about their views. However, these reactions are never about stopping any Jihadi threat. They are instead about bloodlust pure and simple. And currently the target of that bloodlust is the Muslim race.

Next Week: The Racism of Islamofascism – How Racism within the Muslim community gives rise to Jihadism.