Theresa May probably isn't used to receiving plaudits from the Muslim community. Nevertheless the British Home Secretary will no doubt be thrilled to learn that she has earned rhe dubious distinction of being this year's worst Islamophobe.

Theresa May visits Al Madina Mosque

Theresa May visits Al Madina Mosque

Image by ukhomeoffice

May, who beat her ex-cabinet Tory Party colleague Michael Gove to the prize, has been a driving force behind the introduction of yet more repressive legislation targeting the Muslim community. This includes the new Counter Terrorism and Security Act which obligates professionals such as teachers and doctors to spy on Muslims and allows border officials to seize passports of people (read Muslims) suspected of travelling for 'terrorist' purposes.

The continual targeting and scapegoating of Muslims using anti-terror laws and the government's ever widening anti-radicalisation PREVENT programme has been responsible for creating a climate of hostility that encourages acts of discrimination, abuse and violence against them. It has successfully 'otherised' Muslims and created a popular perception of them as a security threat. Moreover, despite the explosion of such laws on the statue book in recent years the threat of terrorism in the UK has arguably increased rather than diminished in the same period.

May joins a distinguished list of previous winners including US president Barack Obama, Tony Blair and former head of the British National Party Nick Griffin. The poll is held online by the Islamic Human Rights Commission every year with candidates nominated before being voted for by the general public. The awards are a light-hearted swipe at public figures and organisations whose actions have generated or perpetuated hatred and/or
violence against Muslims or their religion.

Islamophobia remains a serious problem around the world and has been hugely exacerbated by the western protagonists of the so-called War on Terror who have responded to challenges to their hegemony by eroding their commitment to human rights and scapegoating the entire Muslim ummah and the faith of Islam as a security threat.

While May's success might have been expected, the winner in the UK category came as somewhat more of a surprise. That's not because he is any less Islamophobic but rather because instead of himself instigating Islamophobia he is more usually associated with relentlessly currying favour with those who do. Maajid Nawaz, co-founder of the anti-Muslim think tank Quilliam, drew the ire of fellow Muslims by tweeting a cartoon of the Prophet

Muhammad and appearing to side with western satirists in making light of him. Nawaz has also continued to make a very successful living out of his status as a poster boy of Islamophobes, regularly appearing in the media to demonise Muslim organisations and individuals who don't espouse his own 'liberal' positions as extremist.

The Hollywood box-office hit, American Sniper, shot down all competition to easily win the Movie/Book/TV category. Directed by Clint Eastwood the movie re-tells the story of the most lethal sniper in US military history, Chris Kyle, who killed over 160 people during his four tours in Iraq.

Critics have described it as a jingoistic apology for an illegal combatant who revelled in the killing of Iraqis, including women and children. In his autobiography on which the dramatisation is based Kyle gloats about his killings and describes his victims as "savages" and "despicably evil." The romanticisation of his life in American Sniper has led critics to accuse the film of normalising Islamophobia and inspiring hatred against Muslims and Arabs.

There is no surprise in the 'media' category this year where serial nominee Fox News topped the poll. The jingoistic American news network remains a major source of misinformation about Islam and Muslims and continues to take delight in their demonisation. In January this year it indulged the Zionist Islamophobe Steven Emerson in a now infamous interview in which he described Birmingham as a no-go area for non Muslims and said that gangs of Muslim religious police in parts of London beat up people who are not wearing Islamic clothes.

There are also no prizes for guessing the winner of the 'International' category. The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which was the target of a murderous attack in January won the prize here for its continual stoking of Islamophobic sentiment by caricaturing Muslims as terrorists and ridiculing their beliefs. Charlie Hebdo's repeated mocking of Muslims is part of a culture of hate that is intended to marginalise, further alienate and further endanger a community that has effectively been 'otherised' in much the same way that Jews were in Nazi Germany.

SHORTLISTED nominees were:

- Richard Dawkins
- Maajid Nawaz
- Tommy Robinson

Book/Movie/TV Series:
- Citizen Khan
- Exodus: Gods and Kings
- Homeland
- American Sniper

News Media:
- FOX News
- Sam Harris
- Douglas Murray
- Katie Hopkins

- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Charlie Hebdo
- Bill Maher
- Barack Obama

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