My column today, "Anti-Muslim Racism?" discusses how the word racism is now applied, especially in Great Britain, to a variety of political disputes unrelated to race. Space constraints prevented me from taking up a related problem: that racism seems to apply only to persons of light pigmentation, Christian or Jewish birth, and European extraction.
For example, consider two threats against British Jews:
Riaz Burahee made 92 telephone calls to fifteen Jews, threatening to kill, rape, and blow them up, establishing him as the person with the greatest number of racially-motivated offences of anyone ever in the United Kingdom. But Burahee was sentenced to no jail time, only three years of community rehabilitation and mandatory attendance at a community drug center
In contrast, when those making the threats are white, the full force of the law comes down on them, as illustrated by a recent incident, recorded in "Race hate mag suggested readers ‘Roast a Rabbi":
Five white supremacists were jailed today for a total of 15 years for producing and distributing race-hate material. The five, all members of the extreme right-wing Racial Volunteer Force, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to publish a magazine called Stormer with the intention of stirring up racial hatred. It included a step by step guide to making a nailbomb and a petrol bomb. Other charges related to the RVF's website and distribution of extreme racist pop group Skrewdriver's DVD Live in Germany.
Old Bailey Judge Jeremy Roberts told the five men that they had been trying to stir up race hate and encourage race crime. "No one is being sentenced for their political beliefs - this is a free country," he told them. He said that the RVF literature was designed to "encourage readers to resort to violence against people with non-white backgrounds".
Good for Judge Roberts but why, one wonders, does the law apply to one sort of racism and not to others? Is this itself not a covert form of racism? Why are the many virulent and threatening statements by Islamists, directed against everyone from neighbors to the prime minister, generally met with a mere rap on the knuckles? (November 22, 2005 )