"I refer to the years from ‘77 to ‘83, a period covered by the Sansoni Commission, the violence of ‘77, ‘79, ‘81 and finally the massive explosion of 1983. The road to July ‘83 was paved, prepared, though perhaps not intended in that form, by anti-Tamil propaganda. At the time, it came from within the Government. You had anti-Tamil propaganda with illustrations being sent out in envelopes with a stamp of the then Minister of Industry, Mr. Cyril Mathew. It is the same kind of toxic waste material that is being put out today against the Muslim community, though not officially, not from within the government."I see this happening today. People who never looked at a product to see what markings it has are now raising questions about the halal certification. These claims have the same validity as the Kosher conspiracy theories - indeed they repeat the Kosher claims almost word to word, but are difficult to dispel easily in a short conversation, so the BBS rhetoric carries the day.
Ordinary, reasonable people are saying doesn't the BBS have a point? The Muslims seem to be everywhere these days, of course we don't support this violence but still......
This is the effect of the relentless propaganda. It is effective because it plays on subconscious fears.
It is true, the culture amongst the Moors has changed over time, the hijab and the abaya have become more common, more men seem to wear long beards. All communities now enjoy leisure more, so since people spend more time outside their homes, their visibility increases and gives the impression of a large increase in numbers. It may not be true, but people may think it is true, especially if someone puts false ideas about.
I don't think the pious Muslims differ very much in mindset from, say, evangelical Christians, another fast-growing sect but the crucial difference with evangelical Christians is that they do not look any different from the rest of us, so are easy to ignore.
What the propaganda is doing is heightening awareness of differences and creating fears about those differences. DJ's point that the violence against Tamils between 1977 and 1983 was enabled by the anti-Tamil propaganda must be taken seriously. The question he rightly poses is whether the anti-Muslim propaganda will set the stage for a violent reaction against that community.
It is worth noting that the propaganda of Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines played a significant role on the Rwandan genocide of 1994. To quote Wikipedia:
"The station is considered to have preyed upon deep animosities and prejudices between the Hutu and Tutsi populations. The hateful rhetoric was placed alongside the sophisticated use of humor and popular Zairean music".After the plane crash killed the Rwandan President, the station joined the chorus of voices blaming Tutsi rebels, and began calling for a "final war" to "exterminate" the Tutsi. What followed was the worst genocide in recent times. The UNHCR states:
Isn't this the the same reason why the Government supports this campaign? The danger is that unless the hate media is countered effectively, the probability of another round of violence will surely grow and everybody will pay the price.
The Rwandan genocide resulted from the conscious choice of the elite to promote hatred and fear to keep itself in power. This small, privileged group first set the majority against the minority to counter a growing political opposition within Rwanda.