LoonWatch, How Not To Combat anti-Muslim bigotry

I have been asked for my view of LoonWatch and feel it might help to air these issues.

I think the issue of anti-Muslim bigotry is a real problems in Western societies. In Britain and Ireland, it is often a mutated form of racism which previously targeted Asians. Now it is used against those from North Africa, the Middle East, their descendants or those seen to have different customs.

Not sure if that descriptions does it full justice, but I imagine my more astute readers will see what I am getting at.

On Twitter

In the past I use to followed LoonWatch on Twitter.

Good Material

Anyway, I wanted to keep up with the extent of racism and bigotry towards Muslims and LoonWatch certainly covers it with vigour.

On their web site, LoonWatch, they publish some commendable articles and posts on anti-Muslim bigotry.

This one on Sweden’s Jews, Muslims Face Web Hate Rise: Study is a good example. As is this Dean Obeidallah: Sacha Cohen’s Movie a Minstrel Show.

Also, they have excellent material on cooperation between Jews and Muslims.

However

Less so their defence of Gunter Grass.

I could put that down to a matter of opinion and give them a pass, but I find their attitude towards anti-Jewish racism a bit unsatisfactory.

I could, without much trouble, find examples of their posts which have questionable language for antiracists to use. Often their comments boxes contain sneering and snide comments, either directly or indirectly aimed at Jews, Israelis or “Zionists”

Conspiracy Theories

I am sure that some of the smarter authors at LoonWatch would recognise that conspiracy theories are integral too many of the Far Rights’ attacks on Muslims. Further, that conspiracy theories are the key to a hardened forms of anti-Jewish racism, such as the Protocols, etc etc

Then to publish a piece which indulges in conspiracy theories and broadbrush demonisation of “Zionists” shows a clear lack of introspection and insight into the issues surrounding racism. Readers with access the Internet will be able to confirm that “Zionist” is a common Far Right euphemism for Jew.

Sensitivities

So there is a need for sensitivity in this area, and I find Loonwatch wanting in that respect.

Having said that, I think there is a dire need for web sites to combat anti-Muslim bigotry, but such sites need to be aware of certain sensitivities, not to cross certain lines, not to invoke, even by stealth, conspiracy theories.

Nevertheless, I did enjoyed their cover of the awful Pam Geller and terrible Robert Spencer.

In short, there is a need for insight and that is what I find lacking at LoonWatch.

I wish them well in their work to combat anti-Muslim bigotry. I just wish they would think a bit more, reflect on what they are getting at, and not generalise as much. If they wish to combat racism they should avoid such practices, as that is what racists and bigots tend to do.

Perhaps they might want to tidy up their comments boxes too?

3 comments

  1. Thank you for the request post! I think that’s roughly what I think too. But – I don’t quite get what point you are making about Islamophobia and racism (unless you are implying some parallel with the way antisemitism mutates) as I think there are anti-Muslim bigots who are not racist. I don’t mind the comments so much – they allow debate on Loonwatch, and they can’t be said to endorse the antisemitic comments which crop up. My main concern would be the fact that they set their threshold for antisemitism rather high – having said that, I think they make some genuine and sincere attempt to avoid and counter antisemitism if it’s more obvious. Another concern is perhaps a desire to spin data WRT say the intersection between Islam and terrorism in a positive way – but, they have a particular mission, and obviously they are going to want to present things in the way which will best advance that.

  2. “I don’t quite get what point you are making about Islamophobia and racism “

    I am suggesting that the racism which Asians’ face in Britain & Ireland hasn’t gone away.

    Instead of people moaning about “bleeding immigrants” “Pakis” “smelly food”, etc as was the mainstay of the 1960s & 1970s that has merely changed, slightly, the language updated, but the victims are the same.

    Racism, as with *all* ideas (and to a less extend we can see this in the meaning of words, new words, etc) changes over time. It does not vanish, just takes up a different approach.

    That is particularly true in Britain where overt forms of racism are disapproved of, yet we know it still exists by empirical evidence, eg. entrants of ethnic minorities into Oxbridge, relationship between low-end jobs and ethnicity, incarceration figures of minorities, etc

    “they can’t be said to endorse the antisemitic comments which crop up. “

    Three points here

    Well yes they can, if solidly anti-Muslim remark or vicious racial abuse were to appear in their comment boxes then I would bet it would be dealt with.

    And also given the nature of their campaigning they have to be extra sensitive.

    They should be like Caesar’s wife, beyond reproach.

    But it’s not only the comments, as I said if you search their site you see quite a lot of generalisations about “Zionists”, which could be interpreted in several ways. There are some very questionable posts.

  3. [Please, those stuck in the moderation queue, should read this blog's comments policy. If you want to discuss these issues, fine, but leave the spam at the door. Update: I see you post Wilders's guff. Be gone. I don't want his supporters here.]

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