Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Race or Religion?

While these guys seem to be nothing more than drunken yobs who deserve to get nicked, what I don't understand is why their attack on a mosque is being treated as "racially motivated assault".

THUGS burst into a mosque and savagely attacked the imam and several others as they prayed.

A man, aged 37, from Eccles and a man, aged 19, from Davyhulme have been arrested on suspicion of racially-aggravated assault. Vandals attacked the mosque in November 2004, destroying religious artworks.

Would an attack on any other religious establishment other than a mosque be treated as some sort of racism? The article reports that "racial abuse" was shouted by the attackers, but we don't know what they said- were they trying to insult Muslims, or were they actually insulted the race of the people present? Is it a more serious crime to assault someone for racial reasons than any other? I'd really like to know- why should someone be punished differently for attacking a person because of their race? It makes no sense to me- surely assault is assault and it should all be treated the same. A guy could be walking down the street and just happen to glance at some drunken yob and be assaulted for it. Why should that crime be treated differently than, for example, a black man being attacked because he just happened to come across a drunken yob and be attacked?

The thing is that while the reports have the incident down as being racially motivated, Mohammed Shafiq of the local Islamic Ramadhan Foundation, blames it on Jack Straw and his comments about the veil. According to him, this was an attack specifically on Muslims-

"This is another example of Muslims being attacked and persecuted and the responsibility lies with the politicians who have been on a feeding frenzy attacking Muslims and giving ammunition to thugs' hatred towards us."

If that's the case, then this has nothing to do with race at all- Islam is a religion- so why all the talk about racially motivated attacks? An attack on a mosque, or a church or a synagogue or a temple, is not racist but religiously motivated.

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