Friday 16 January 2015

Islamophobia Isn't Racism

So you say Islamophobia isn’t racism.
I’m sure that’s true
Since Richard Dawkins said so
And he's infallible, as we all know.
But I’d like to ask you to do a couple of things

Little things, which should be easy for you.

Here, go and tell this Sikh woman
Whose house was firebombed, her husband shot in the night
Because someone thought anyone wearing a turban and a beard
Must be a Muslim – go ahead,

Tell her that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell this Arab Christian from Gaza
Whose children were hit by a Zionist shell, torn and buried
Even his whole street, all buildings buried –
And who’s jeered online for being a Muslim, go ahead

Tell him that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell this Afghan kid, tattered and alone
Mother killed at a checkpoint, father bombed by a drone
Show him how it’s all justified, because 11/9, because Taliban
And while he’s hunting for a little food and warmth

Tell him that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell this French woman, dark-eyed and demure
How she can’t wear a veil – which is not Islamic and never was –
But her Christian friend can wear a crucifix round her neck.
Tell her, when her mosque’s vandalised, her holy book mocked

Tell her that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell this Iraqi resistance fighter, secular, socialist too
Whose land was invaded and destroyed, ripped apart
And who picked up the gun to fight back, who gave his all to fight back
And who was told that he must be a jihadist Islamist, because
He must be fighting for religion, not for freedom and liberty
Whose comrades’ corpses were posed like hunting trophies, go ahead –

Tell him that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell this Indian college student here, the one in the jeans
Who spends her days studying mathematics, her nights out with friends
That she must be oppressed, because she’s a Muslim
That she must be an Arab, because she’s a Muslim
That she must have been cut about, because she’s a Muslim, and then

Tell her that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell this boy, who plays football at school
And who plays rock in his spare time, because that’s the cool thing to do
That he must apologise, because, some Muslim, somewhere
Blew up something he’s never heard of, for reasons unknown –

Tell him that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Here, tell the family of Jean Charles de Menezes
Shot eight times on the London Underground
For the crime of being brown
And hence automatically a Muslim terrorist - come on

Tell them that Islamophobia isn't racism.

And tell the old mullah in the local mosque, the one who never hurt a fly
The one who’s never spoken a word against anyone
Tell him how he’s guilty of what some Saudi preacher said
Because there’s no difference between them in your outraged head –

Tell him that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Or, you know what, take a little drive to your airport
But tan your skin brown first.
If you don’t have a beard, grow one.
Or if you’re a woman, put on a veil
And then go to the airport.
And there,
Get yourself searched, your bags gone through
Your documents checked, back and forth
Questioned over and over, when all you asked
Was the way to the loo –

(Which is something that has happened to the author of this poem
Who isn’t Muslim, Arab, Afghan, Chechen, or even
Religious in any sense of the word)

When you’ve done all that, go ahead, tell me, tell us
That since Islam is something one can convert to
Tell us that Islamophobia isn’t racism.

Go right ahead
We’ll wait.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2015

Click to enlarge [Image Source]


  1. Well said. Will be sharing.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi, Delbor. Back on Multiply this would've probably caused a hundred-response fight with morons of all kinds pitching in.

      Man, I miss Multiply.

  3. Bill,
    Excellent commentary sir.
    It IS racist, no matter what asshat says otherwise. Oh, and NO human being is infallible, nope, not even Dawkins his self. Just my own opinion, for whatever it may or not be worth. More of us need to stand up and say this, out loud as often as possible to any and all around us, every day. Yeah, I am getting more radical in my old age.

  4. Well said, and shared with thanks ~ Blessings! <3


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