Gareth Compton’s Tweet: A Stone’s Throw from Islamophobia

Last month, Tory councilor Gareth Compton was arrested and later released on bail for writing a message in Twitter that said: “Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan’t tell Amnesty if you don’t. It would be a blessing, really.”

Compton has apologized for the Tweet and has declared that he was quite frustrated because Alibhai-Brown said in an interview that no British politicians are morally qualified to talk about human rights violations. Compton’s membership to the Conservative party has been suspended, he is now under investigation, and he faces prosecution under the Communications Act 2003, as the National Post reports.

Although Alibhai-Brown considers the message an incitement for violence against herself, some people consider the issue absurd because they believe Alibhai-Brown should be “used to” threats, since she is a journalist. Some others seem to condone Compton’s message on the grounds that Alibhai-Brown is wrong in expressing her opinion in regard to British politicians’ moral characteristics.

Regardless of Alibhai-Brown’s observations on politicians’ ability or inability to judge human rights violations, Compton’s comments belong to a different category. Compton is a politician and a councilor of one of the most multicultural cities in the U.K.: Birmingham City. This means that he is expected to be sensitive to cultural differences, religious diversity, and political correctness. Yes, one can disagree with Alibhai-Brown, and her remarks may not be accurate, but she represents neither voters nor the government.

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The Poor White Women: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on White Female Converts

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is Muslim. In her articles she often likes to tell you this in the first sentence to give herself an air of authenticity. Therefore, when her articles are mere fodder for the further stereotyping and othering of Muslims, it is not because she is lazily feeding the expectations of her non-Muslim readers, but because her words are the truth? After all, she is Muslim, so how can she be wrong?

Since the media pathologizes Muslims on a daily basis, who is Alibhai-Brown to go against that trend? Her articles are often about what is wrong with Muslims today–the answer to which is usually not being enough like Alibhai-Brown.

In her piece for the London Evening Standard, the reader does not even escape the second paragraph without being told of “Muslim minds and lives worldwide being closed down by fanatics.” Already the tone is set: Muslim are bad and dangerous, except for our intrepid writer, who presumably, is not a fanatic.

Yet, the first paragraph is a hopeful one, as Alibhai-Brown is keen to met Allegra Mostyn-Owen, who runs art classes at East London mosque. Will Mostyn-Owen be a cause for optimism, or will she fail to be enough like Alibhai-Brown?
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