AW: ' feel pity for the poor immigrant!

Wodak, Ruth r.wodak at LANCASTER.AC.UK
Tue Oct 25 19:50:24 UTC 2005

Dear Mustafa,
thanks for sending this account.
In Austria, xenophobic slogans are en vogue again, specifically because of the possible enlargement of EU and Turkey. This Sunday, the Freedom Party (split of from the former Freedom Party of Haider in April 2005 which now consist of two "branches", one with Haider - BZÖ - and the Freedom Party which is more rightwing than the BZÖ) won 15% in the Vienna elections, after a horrible xenophobic campaign against inter alia Turks and Muslims.
ECRI has also criticized Austria in its last report very strongly. However, this does not seem to impress the government. Asylum laws have also become much more restrictive in June 2005.
We should collect these new developments.
Ruth Wodak
Professor in Discourse Studies
Department of Linguistics and English Language
Lancaster University
Lancaster, UK LA1 4YT
Tel: xx44 1524 592437
Fax:xx44 1524 843085


Von: Critical Discourse/Language/Communication Analysis im Auftrag von Mustafa Hussain
Gesendet: Di 25.10.2005 20:42
Betreff: ' feel pity for the poor immigrant!

Dear All,


Although most of the Western world has witnessed a tremendous increase in the anti-Muslim 

rhetoric in the mass media and political discourse after the 9/11, and the Muslim expatriates 

feel insecure in many European countries under new anti-terror legislations, the situation in

Denmark has become bad to worse  for the Muslim population of roughly 175.000 in a 

nation of  6 million people in the Nordic hemisphere. 

Even prior to the dramatic events of 9/11, Denmark has been subjected to sever criticism by

no less than the European Council's Committee Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) in

its Second Country Report (Spring, 2001) for failing to check for growing xenophobia and anti-Muslim

prejudice. Several other independent scholarly reports and doctoral theses have in the recent past

repeatedly demonstrated that the media and political propaganda against the vulnerable minorities

has crossed all the limits of decency and the true meaning of freedom of expression in a 

democratic society.  However the anti-Muslim rhetoric and all the thinkable symbolic violence

to hurt the Muslims seems to have no end in the Danish press and television.

The media in symbiosis with the political elite of this country by their blatant provocations are

potentially pushing the otherwise peaceful Muslims to extremism and towards a total

seclusion from the rest of the society. The ordinary labour market is already closed for the mainly

Muslim minorities and a number of youth being educated in Denmark are turning to England and 

even the USA for employment opportunities.  I will spare the members of  the list for the 

countless, and baseless, allegation against the Muslims by the political and the media elite of

the country, but would draw their attention to a very recent attempt by an influential newspaper, JP, to

stir more troubles and insecurity for the Muslims by publishing 12 different cartoons of their

prophet Muhammed among which one is shown wearing an Arabic head-gear (turban)

with a hidden bomb underneath it.  And all this under the holiest month of Ramadan for the Muslims.

About twelve ambassadors from the Muslim countries, including from Pakistan, wrote a letter

of concern to the Prime Minister of Denmark (who also carries an informal title of Minister of the Press),

the leader of the Liberals, Mr. Fogh Rasmussen. He bluntly refused to acknowledge their concern by

referring to the typical rhetorical move that "we have freedom of press and expression in this country".

The ambassadors later on requested to meet with him personally to explain their viewpoint, which he also 

turned down, advising them to go to the courts.

Now interestingly, the same newspapers and the politicians who beat the drums of freedom of expression

as a pretext to provoke the Muslim communities, blame the Muslims for not respecting our 

freedom of expression, when the Muslim use their freedom of expression showing that their religious feelings are

hurt by such acts of provocations. Through such circular argument the elite keep on reproducing hatred

against the Muslims and their alienation from the society. 

It is hard to be convinced whether terrorism or extremism is an innate Islamic quality or it intentionally is

being bred by the anti-Muslim ideology of the elite (also) of this country. 

Even the press in Israel, who has been at war with the Muslims for many years, has not gone to such extremes, 

which one may witness in the Danish press with the full backing of the governing elite.

Hurting other religious minorities of any faith has never been a democratic value or a truly secular deed.

But then perhaps one should comfort oneself by recalling the famous phrase from Shakespeare's

formidable drama Helmet that,   Something is rotten in Denmark!  


Mustafa Hussain



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