Azeem Rafiq, a Pakistan-born British professional cricket player, recently made waves after testifying before parliament about the racism and prejudice he suffered from teammates earlier in his career. Shortly thereafter, a decade-old correspondence between Rafiq and another cricketer came to light in which Rafiq made multiple anti-Semitic comments. Melanie Phillips observes:
Let’s park judgment for the moment on Rafiq himself. What was striking was the sharp difference between the reaction to the claims of racism against him and to the odious behavior by him. His racism claims led to instant anathema being pronounced upon the cricketing personalities he named. Yet the revelation of his past anti-Semitism—for which he instantly and abjectly apologized to the Jewish community—produced no such reaction.
Generous-minded people will want to believe that Rafiq is genuinely sorry for his past anti-Jewish prejudice. But [his former teammates] weren’t given the benefit of the doubt for their own shows of contrition. They were hung out to dry, with speaking engagements and radio appearances cancelled. So why the difference?
The real reason is surely the widespread refusal to acknowledge that Muslims might harbor bigoted attitudes. This is despite repeated evidence that a disproportionate number of Muslims hold anti-Jewish views. In 2019, a worldwide poll commissioned by the U.S. Anti-Defamation League found that Muslims in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK were on average almost three times more likely than the general population to accept anti-Semitic stereotypes.
Yet in all the recent sound and fury over anti-Semitism, this factor has almost never been mentioned. This is because of the “intersectionality” dogma that black- or brown-skinned people can’t be racists. And so those drawing attention to Muslim anti-Semitism find themselves anathematized instead as Islamophobes. [Even] Jewish leaders almost never mention it.