VIDEO: Whose Nation is it Anyway?

IHRC held its annual Islamophobia Conference on Sunday, 10 December 2017 on ‘The Rise of Nativism’.

Here, IHRC co-founder Arzu Merali outlines the topic, ”Whose nation is it anyway?” More details below the video.

Text from the IHRC website.

IHRC and SACC held their annual Islamophobia Conferences on 8 (Edinburgh) and  10 (London) December. The theme for 2017 was Islamophobia and The Rise of Nativism.  Find links to the videos, reports and other material for both conferences here.

Nativism is the political policy of promoting the interests of “native” inhabitants against those of “immigrants”. It is racism masquerading as patriotism.

This racism reared its ugly head during the Brexit debates. Anti-immigrant sentiments were fanned to ensure a victory for the leave camp. The election of Trump in America has allowed nativism to enter mainstream politics. He branded Mexicans as lazy and as rapists, Muslims as terrorists and imposed a ‘Muslim Ban’, continued his anti-immigration stance and his plan for a wall on the Mexican border.  Black communities continued to struggle against systemic violence, as well as racism from their fellow citizens, while Trump publicly undermined any criticism voiced by black communities. Trump’s presidency emboldened Nazis to openly march on the streets again, galvanised the so-called alt-right and fractured community relations across America.

Across Europe we see a similar trend; the rise of the far-right has been fuelled by nativist sentiments. Ideas of ‘foreigners taking over’, of destroying ‘indigenous’ cultures and imposing their own ‘alien’ way of life have been the main talking points for the likes of the Afd in Germany, Marine Le Pen in France and Geert Wilders in the Netherlands. Recent elections in Germany, Austria, France and the Czech Republic saw major electoral gains for far-right parties / candidates.

London speakers: Luis Manuel Hernandez Aguilar; Hatem Bazian; Martjin de Koning; Ramon Grosfoguel; Phil Miller; Arzu Merali, Salman Sayyid and Amrit Wilson.

The focus of the conference in Edinburgh was education. A recent survey by Samena Dean found that more than half of Muslim school students interviewed in Edinburgh had experienced Islamophobia. It is reflected in hate crime, unlawful discrimination, discriminatory and hostile social attitudes and institutional racism. Schools, colleges and universities in Scotland are not immune to this trend.

The event consisted of a workshop mainly for young Muslims, a round-table discussion on how to move towards radically anti-racist education and a panel with speakers including Arzu Merali (co-founder and head of research, IHRC, and leading member of DIN), Tasneem Ali (MWAE), Richard Haley (SACC), Sofiah MacLeod (Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign) and Yahya Barry. The panel was chaired by Zahid Ali.