Great Propagand tricks of today: smoke and mirrors and the engineering of phobias

"The Muslim one quarter of the human race does of course include a number of psychopaths and other murdering scumbags, racists, warmongers and extremists and a percentage of people in the thrall of such undesirables. But the Muslim world has no monopoly on extremists, bombers, genocidal maniacs, racial supremacists and murdering scumbags. We in the non-Muslim world have our fair share of these antiscocial personality types AND IN ABOUT THE SAME PERCENTAGES."

See the well-reasoned andinformative featured article below which is quoted from The Guardian in 2014. The points so well made are still relevant today.

It is as refreshing as it is rare to find a balanced news and to report that exposes the mechanisms by which vested interests are seeking to create conflict between Muslims and the wider community. Those efforts to create conflict are put forward usually by presenting with bogus authority and fake concerns about liberty and justice, misleading caricatures of Muslims and Islam as a whole.

Now, for sure, Islam embraces a quarter of the entire human race - over 1.5 billion people. That 1.5 billion people adhere to a myriad of movements, sects and schools of thought as manifold and varied as the other thee quarters of the human race.

The Muslim one quarter of the human race does of course include a number of psychopaths and other murdering scumbags, racists, warmongers and extremists and a percentage of people in the thrall of such undesirables. But the Muslim world has no monopoly on extremists, bombers, genocidal maniacs, racial supremacists and murdering scumbags. We in the non-Muslim world have our fair share of these antiscocial personality types AND IN ABOUT THE SAME PERCENTAGES.

What is unacceptable is to characterise or betray entire races of people or entire sectors of humanity as "the same as" the lunatics among them. If that were acceptable, then virtually all peoples on the planet would be condemned.

The effort to thus caricature a people is directed in this case at the Muslims, who have been selected as "the enemy" we are all supposed to be so scared about we will surrender all our freedoms to the government that will (hah! ) keep us safe. This began in earnest soon after Communism expired. The effort to demonise a people is done to dehumanise them so as to gain public support for war. People are much more likely to tolerate the slaughter of their fellow human beings if they can be duped into seeing them as somewhat less than human or thinking they "deserved it" when the flesh is burned off their children.

So the manifold decencies of the 1.5 billion people embraced by the collective term Islam, the vast majority of decent, social personality types and people who would, if it is all the same to you, prefer to get along and not have bombs rained down at them from the heavens or their daughters insulted in the street, are largely ignored and the excesses of the antisocial types among them are highlighted and often amplified.

I'm sure there are warmongers and antisocial lunatics on the Muslim "side" saying the same things about us. But just because one of our warplanes blew up a hospital and killed over a hundred people in just under a minute does not make me a psychopath or deserving of punishment for a crime I did not commit, did not support, did not know about and could not have prevented even if I had received fore-notice in writing from the Prime Minister. And just because a friend of mine applauded the murder does not make him a psychopath either, considering the propaganda that makes it "okay" with which he is bombarded morning noon and night.

Anyway, here is how the somewhat better expressed Guardian article puts it: editor
The random Muslim scare story generator: separating fact from fiction

Halal meat is on every menu; sharia law is taking over; the niqab is undermining the nation. Ever noticed how often the same old stories keep appearing about Muslims in Britain? Here's the truth about these and other media myths

In Britain, there is now a cycle of Islamic scare stories so regular that it is almost comforting, like the changing of the seasons. Sadly, this rotation is not as natural, or as benign, although it is beginning to feel just as inevitable. We had the niqab winter last year, as the country lurched into the niqab debate for the second time in three years. Now we are in the spring of halal slaughter.

Add to this schedule the routine reports about gender segregation in UK universities and Muslim schools (as if the concept of gender segregation was somehow exotic to non-faith schools in the UK), claims of grand plans to "overthrow" non-Muslim heads of certain schools and you have a steady flow of creeping sharia messages, stoking a fear of a stealthy, incremental Islamicisation.

Channel 4's Ramadan coverage last year drew 2,011 complaints, the majority objecting to the broadcast of the call to prayer, a two-minute transmission. This reflects an increasing nationwide umbrage towards visible British Muslims, informed by repetitive stories that inaccurately amplify their religiously motivated activity.

Underpinning it is a common theme: that there is an ever more muscular and intimidating Muslim minority demanding special rights from a cowed and pandering, lily-livered body politic muzzled by "multicultural Britain" – rather than simply attempting to adapt and integrate, as immigrants of all religions have been doing in the UK for centuries. It's not hard to see how this constant blurring of facts generates the mood music of anti-immigration rightwingers and establishes common misconceptions about Muslims.

But the threat of a creeping sharia never seems to materialise. It seems to be more of a crawling sharia, so slowly has the Islamist takeover of Britain been, in contrast to the constant media warnings of its imminent arrival.

[TLB UK editor's note: it is never really specified in the general news-bite propagand, which aspect of Sharia law is being snuck in under the radar and as far as we know no Act of Parliament required to make anything the law of the land has been passed or coud be passed without anyone noticing. There are currently about 13 Muslim MPs, 8 of them women, one SNP and one Tory. This is out of a Muslim population of 2.7 million. On the other hand there are about 28 Jewish MPs (from about 280,000 Jews) who might have something to say about attempts to get Sharia law onto the statute books. This of course, if my math is any good, makes the Muslims about 30 times less represented in Parliament than the Jews in reLAtion to the size of their population.]

The focus far outstrips the size and political activity of the minority, which number 2.7 million (less than 5% of the population), not all of whom are practising Muslims. The Islamic scare story plays to a nexus of easy media sensationalism, a portion of the public primed and ready to believe the worst, and an interested rightwing element for whom it is a convenient vehicle for their anti-immigration views, xenophobia, or just Islamophobia.

But with each reincarnation of a creeping Islamic threat, the gulf between the facts and what is reported widens. The following are some of the most popular examples – and the facts that discredit them.
How many women in the UK have you actually seen wearing this? How many women in Muslim communities actually wear it? Seriously, how much of a threat is it to your way of life? How much does the threat to a way of life actually run in the other direction?

The niqab

[TLB UK Editor's note. Click here for a definition of each of the various kinds of head voerings worn by many Muslim women]

One of the most helpful exercises is to present some estimation of how many women actually wear the niqab, the face veil, in any given European country in which there is controversy about it. The estimates are so small that they cool a usually heated debate. In France, which banned them in public in 2011, it is estimated as between 400 and 2,000, ie not even 0.1% of the population. In the UK, approximations suggest that the numbers are "extremely low". Among practising Muslim women, niqab wearers are more of a minority than women who do not even wear the hijab, the head scarf. You are far more likely in the UK to meet a Muslim woman in jeans and a T-shirt than you are to meet one in a niqab. It seems embarrassing that politicians and media professional should dedicate so much time to agonising over the issue.

Politicians are the worst culprits for recycling the niqab debate. Philip Hollobone, a member of parliament, was so moved by the plight of women in niqabs that he proposed to ban them from his constituency office. Security concerns over ID and testifying in court are utterly unfounded: women are required to take off their niqabs for identification purposes – for drivers' licences etc – and they overwhelmingly comply. Once the security concerns are dispensed with, the last retreat of the niqab botherers is that the debate is out of anxiety for these women. But there has not yet been a single incident where the niqab debate was instigated by Muslim women themselves.

Muslim grooming gangs

In 2012, nine men were convicted of child exploitation and grooming of vulnerable young girls in Rochdale. Similar grooming gangs were identified in Derby, Rotherham and Oxford. Rather than the colour or religion of the assailant being incidental to the crime – which is taken for granted when they are white or Christian – the fact that these grooming gangs were Asian and Muslim, and their victims white, became central to their offences in public discourse and media coverage. How was this done? Newspaper articles, radio shows and TV panel discussions adopted, discussed and repeated the claim of Muslim grooming and abuse. By popularising a notion that their crimes were somehow mandated by a sharia law that condoned sexual exploitation of non-Muslims. That is, not only is their religion relevant, it is blessing their crimes, or at least informing their culture. This was simply not true but it was repeated and sublimated into fact. Rod Liddle in the Spectator approached this pivotal point, the purported reasoning for the entire grooming phenomenon, by saying: "Is there something within the religion or ideology of Islam which somehow encourages, or merely facilitates, extremist Muslim maniacs to maim or kill non-Muslims? I think there probably is. But you can't say that."

There you have it. He thinks there probably is. Never mind reports that Muslim girls were abused as well. Conveniently, this worldview chimes with the politically correct liberal somewhere out there who would rather your daughters were sexually groomed than dare call something out as related to religion.

Since Operation Yewtree started, there has been a healthy debate about sexism in the UK – the impunity of male celebrities, the cultural tolerance of sexual activity with minors and so on. But this nuance was not applied to the "Muslim grooming gangs", a description about as unhelpful as the "Christian paedophile Jimmy Savile". It was a scenario in which a factually erroneous religious justification was used to explain an anomalous episode.

Sharia Council of Britain

There have been two recent flare-ups of the sharia courts and "parallel Islamic law" scare story. In 2011, a bill was tabled in parliament to address concerns over sharia arbitration, and in early 2014 solicitors were allowed to draw up sharia-compliant wills, leading the Sunday Telegraph to pronounce that "Islamic law is adopted by British legal chiefs".

Since 2009, there have been sharia court investigations by the Independent, the Telegraph and the BBC. The political momentum against these courts is primarily from Baroness Cox, a crossbench member of the House of Lords and self-proclaimed "voice of the voiceless" Muslim women, who she claims are being victimised.

[TLB UK Editor's note. Baroness Cox, on checking out her background, turns out to be an ardent Zionist and supporter of Israel who apparently campaigns tirelEssly agsinst Islam. All right, fair enough, Baroness Cox can campaign for or against whetever she wants but this is a phenomenon that comes up time and again, is a caUSe for concern and which we will be covering in more detail in TLB UK: the people and groups seeking to convince us all of the "dangers of Islam" turn out to be Zionists.

As neither Mulims nor Jews our concern is whether the traditional enmity of the Zionsts for and their fear of Islam underlies an evident campaign to bring about conflict in the West between Muslims and non-Muslims.]

Of all the Muslim threats, this seems the most potent. It actually has "sharia" in the name. UK law has some scope to acknowledge the customary or religious laws of both Jews and Muslims. But going by the coverage, it would seem it is only Muslims that have both demanded and been granted exception. On closer inspection, it is clear sharia courts only have jurisdiction on civil matters and everyone must opt in to a sharia court. They only have an advisory capacity and address mainly property and financial matters, and rulings are then only enforceable by civil courts. In many cases, they are understaffed affairs, where one official settles petty disputes and draws up rudimentary documents.

The creeping sharia courts' "astonishing spread" was first reported by the Daily Mail in 2009. At the time, there were reportedly "no fewer than 85". In the most recent Daily Mail report on the issue in 2014, the number was, despite the warning about the pace of change whereby Islamic law was cannibalising British secular law, still "no fewer than 85".

Islamic banking

The most recent episode of this was a report that Lloyds TSB in the UK had reduced or eliminated overdraft fees on its Islamic bank accounts. This apparently "special treatment" might suggest that banks are overturning their commercial interests to keep customers happy. This alone should be a clear alert that the story is bunkum. When have you known a bank to do that? The reality is that Islamic bank accounts are, in fact, on average more costly for customers. Interest rates (yes, they are charged on Islamic bank accounts, under different mechanisms, usually fixed transaction fees) are often higher than the secular high street. More crucially, as Lloyds itself has explained, Islamic accounts "do not offer credit interest or other features that are available on our other products. A comparison with the overdraft charging structure on other accounts is meaningless." The question shouldn't have been, "Want to avoid overdraft fees? Open an Islamic bank account", but: "Want to avoid overdraft fees? Open an Islamic bank account where you will not receive any interest on savings or deposits." Again, this is a recycled story from 2009, so it is not an exposé.

Halal slaughter

According to recent tabloid newspaper "revelations", halal meat is being slipped into food at major supermarkets, and Pizza Express has been "exposed" for stealthily replacing its chicken supply with halal poultry. Halal meat must come from animals that were killed with a cut to the throat, allowing all the blood to drain from the carcass. In the past four years, the UK media has broken the story to the British public at least a dozen times, warning about the widespread use of halal meat, yet somehow every new headline presents it as a new finding. In the latest Pizza Express episode, where the claim was that the chain was surreptitiously slipping halal chicken on to its menu, there was no secrecy at all: the chain's website clearly states it uses halal chicken.

The "secret" element, a popular angle in the halal story, serves to support the alarm that people are being hoodwinked by Muslims sneaking their way of life into the mainstream.

The supposed objection is that halal slaughter is a less humane method of terminating an animal than the supposedly more palatable methods of stunning, electrocution and gassing. But according to a 2012 Food Standards Agency report cited by the RSPCA, 97% of cattle, 96% of poultry and 90% of sheep slaughtered using the halal method in UK abattoirs are stunned first, desensitising the animal to pain. If the objection were really about the distress of slaughter, it would therefore apply to only a tiny proportion of halal meat.

The most recycled of stories, the halal debate began in earnest in 2003, with a Farm Animal Welfare Council report that recommended stunning for halal and kosher slaughter. Since then, every time the issue of religiously compliant slaughter has been resurrected, the kosher element has been less and less prominent, rendering it less an animal rights issue, and more an irrational rejection of halal slaughter as something tainted with something intangibly Muslim. In a nation that has been enjoying halal meat for years in curries, kebabs and shawarmas, the halal debate has distorted and hijacked the welfare dimension, in order to channel nasty resentment that a minority you don't like is being accommodated.