Don’t listen to the Brexit Muslims

imran shahImran Shah is a political blogger. You can follow him on Twitter @ImranShah884


Imran Shah urges those voting in tomorrow’s EU referendum not to listen to the Brexit Muslims.

Let me start with the easiest argument: The economic one.

All major economic and civic bodies, as well as experts in their field, have said that leaving the EU would have a grave impact on our economy and our society at large. This is including the ones that are not in the neo-liberal camp.

The only counter to this from the Leave side has been half-truths and cryptic hypotheticals about “controlling our trade agreements and immigration.” Why Brexit Muslims still push this view that is only coming from a racist Brexit campaign and their tabloid entourage is beyond me.

It doesn’t stop there either. Their parrot repetition of arguments relating to immigration and NHS is perhaps even starker. Countless times we have heard that the NHS depends heavily on immigration and an imported workforce. The NHS would collapse without it, especially with a British population that is growing older and older.

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Exiting the EU would only reduce that capacity for the NHS to recruit effectively, especially if our current government introduce restrictive immigration laws as they have done in other areas. A weak NHS means they can push for privatisation of the health service under the guise of trying “save it.”

This applies to all our public services.

In addition, leaving will definitely mean more expensive prices for almost everything we trade with the EU, pushing prices up for absolutely everything else. All of this will stretch an already desperate British poor and create more inequality. All in all making it a more fertile ground for racist and white supremacist narratives.

The far-right

Additionally, a Leave vote wouldn’t be the end of UKIP.

To think that Farage and his anti-Muslim and anti-immigration rhetoric will just go away is the height of political naivety. They are not some puritanical anti-EU zealots who will just disband once their job is done.

They are fascists who used the EU as an entry point to political prominence. They will not simply throw that away.

It will take two years for us to break from the EU. Their anti-immigration rhetoric will continue, especially with Calais and the refugee crises on our doorstep, and don’t be surprised if they do a re-branding of their party for the next election.

Nigel Farage of UKIP
Nigel Farage of UKIP

After all, they’ve got four years to prepare for it.

In fact, this bolstering towards extreme far-right politics won’t just happen in the UK; the impact of it will be felt across the EU, having a similar effect on their societies and on the treatment of Muslims. Leaving the EU will only make it harder for us to collaborate and organise with other Muslims and non-Muslims who can and do tackle Islamophobia.

Brexit Muslims would have us believe that the UK is more tolerant and liberal compared to much of the EU. Yet they don’t seem aware of the fact that the UK is much further ahead in illiberal laws that over extend the government powers in counter-extremism and online surveillance.

Even if this particular argument holds up, Muslims need to get that Islamophobia has no borders. You can’t just stop the flow and influence of any ideology by simply leaving its legal jurisdiction. If that was the case, the Islamophobia that has been on the rampage in the US and other non-EU countries would not have an impact at all, but it certainly does.

In contrast, a broken EU won’t disunite the elites and so called “Masters of the World” and it would be foolish to even think so in the wake of the Panama Papers. And if the elite can organise in such ways to push alarming policies such as TTIP, they can organise effectively for the EU state to embark on illegal and unethical wars for the sake of their profit.

The only difference a broken EU would make is the inability to organise and campaign against those elites effectively; a flurry of immigration and jurisdictional regulations will be invoked to stop such organisation happening if we do leave.

Shooting ourselves in the foot

So why are Brexit Muslims calling for the rest of us to shoot ourselves in the foot when we are trying to deal with the onslaught of anti-Muslim sentiment?

In addition, we would lose the millions of funding and the EU bodies that monitor the upholding of human rights and countering hate crime, including Islamophobia. We would lose the legal capacity that caused Theresa May so much grief in her inability to extradite Muslims she wanted to scapegoat. And more importantly, we would lose the ability to engage and influence them and steer the direction that we want them to follow.

The Green Party has been successful in bringing together the collaborative, progressive efforts of all EU members states, as part of the Pro-Remain campaign. This is not in the interest of the elites, who have a history of pillaging and burning their way through the world for the sake of their shareholders. Yet the Greens have managed to bring about effective steps to help their agenda.

Why can’t Muslims do the same? We can, but it means we need to have a pro-active mindset, that is willing to organise with other Muslims and unite to tackle an issue that affects all of us. This is completely absent from the Brexit Muslim camp.

With all their talk of the banning of the hijabs and halal meat, they have never talked about collaborating and organising with other Muslims to tackle the EU Islamophobia problem.

This is because they never had any intention to do so in the last ten years or any time in the future, regardless of whether we remain or leave. And this is where all their arguments come from: A mindset that is inherently defeatist. A mindset that puts their own political fecklessness above what is actually needed of them. A mindset that is willing to make moves that only reinforce a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Don’t be one of them. Vote Remain and get ready to organise.

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