Communities Minister rejects racism

Statement from Scotland Against Criminalising Communities
Monday 9 October 2007

SACC applauds the statement by Holyrood Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm reported in Scottish editions of today's Metro that Muslim women are welcome at his Leith constituency surgery whether or not their faces are covered.

But we fear that Jack Straw's recent disgraceful remarks are more than just a foolish eccentricity. They are symptomatic of a government mindset that insists that the only good Muslim is a moderate Muslim and the only moderate Muslim is a Muslim whose criticism of government policy is muted and anaemic.

We hope that the government will resist the impulse to deal with the Straw crisis by declaring a new "hearts and minds" campaign - a phrase straight from every text-book of counter-insurgency warfare. Muslims who share the general British distaste at "made-in-the-USA" foreign policy deserve better than to be handled as an enemy, whether the gloves are velvet or steel.

The only "hearts and minds" campaign we need is one to persuade ministers to bring their hearts and minds into cabinet meetings instead of leaving them in the cloakroom. Then perhaps they'll understand that their language is bankrupt. Whether they are defending the brutality of dawn raids on asylum-seekers, the anachronism of colonial warfare in the middle-east or the chess-game of keeping British Muslims out of politics, they have just one policy. The policy is to talk racist while franticly waving anti-racist credentials around. It's time for a change.

See also:
Ministers must Stop fanning the flames of racism - SACC press release, 6 October 2006