Yes, we come across these ‘campaigners’ quite regularly. You know, the type that scream out on Twitter about Islamist extremism, (which needs to be tackled and challenged), whilst then making out that they are campaigners against all forms of extremism. Yet, we are still to see a single comment from these all encompassing campaigners on tackling anti-Muslim hate and rhetoric which they do not to seem to notice, or choose not to.
Part of the reason may be that some of these campaigners are linked to, campaign with, or give credence and cover to some of the well resourced groups who promote anti-Muslim hate and prejudice. These groups, in turn, attempt to deflect any criticism of them by pointing to the ‘only Muslim in the village’ whom they are linked to and who no doubt, is palatable to only them.
Real counter-extremism work means taking no sides in this work whether tackling faith based or Far Right extremism. Yet, the ‘only Muslim in the village’ has some interesting friends, some of whom seek to undermine work in anti-Muslim prejudice and who seek to promote the farcical narrative that there are no others to work with in Muslim communities, hence back to promoting the ‘only Muslim in the village.’ A clever self re-enforcing strategy, it is ultimately doomed to failure and it makes the assumption that the general public cannot see through Houdini’s smoke and mirrors.
Take this sketch from Little Britain which reflects such a position. In spite of many working against and tackling all forms of extremism, the ‘only Muslim in the village’ ardently disregards others and believes that they are always right at the expense of other’s opinions and others working in the same area. Pompous, arrogant, ill-informed and blighted by arrogance, all they seem to hear is their own voice, though mention tackling anti-Muslim prejudice and all becomes quiet on the Western Front, (and no Islamophobes, there is no Jihad take over of the West as you may well read or twist this statement to suit your ideology).
You see, the ‘only Muslim in the village’ has made some interesting friends in national newspapers who foam when they hear about anti-Muslim hate or Islamophobia. So, to appease them, or to keep their friendships in place, it is a case of see no evil and hear no evil when anti-Muslim hate is clearly evident. Scarily, it is these same journalists in national newspapers who believe that anti-Muslim bigotry does not exist or is made up to ‘promote Jihad through stealth,’ (sound crazy – it is – though some journalists actually believe this nonsense). So the ‘only Muslim in the village’ deflects, ducks, plays to audiences and makes out that being the ‘only Muslim in the village’ is a task that is so difficult that people show bow to the new shape-shifting Messiah with the chutzpah of Merlin the magician.
So next time you see the ‘only Muslim in the village’ do ask him about his views on anti-Muslim hate, why he, (and it is mainly a he), chooses to say nothing on the matter and why the village no longer buys into their empty messages. If nothing else, the village is no longer a village and is now a town, with more Muslims and more voices. So to the ‘only Muslim in the village,’ drop your rattle, it simply does not work any more.