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Kenan Malik on the 5-year old girl being fostered by a Muslim family and The Times headline Christian child forced into Muslim foster care by a London council, ‘. . . In no context other than a polemic about Muslims would the five-year-old have been described as a “Christian girl”. Whether that is even true is still unclear. While the mother describes her daughter as “of Christian heritage”, the court documents, including the assessment of the maternal grandparents, state that they are of a Muslim background but are non-practising. . . Many critics have dismissed the reporting as straightforward media bigotry. Clearly, there is an element of bigotry involved in some of the media responses. But the debate around the case also throws light on a host of other issues, in particular, the fraught ways in which we think of “culture” and the inability of all sides to find an adequate language through which to speak about questions concerning Muslims and Islam. . .The Rotherham and Tower Hamlets cases, and the debate around them, reveal the polarised ways in which Muslims are discussed in Britain. It is a discussion too often trapped between hostility towards Muslims and a fear of creating such hostility or of offending Muslims.

Neither side is able to talk about Muslims as a normal part of British life, with the usual range of achievements and inadequacies, but only as ciphers for other issues. More than simply bigotry, this failure to find an adequate language through which to discuss Muslims and Islam bedevils public debate.’ click here

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