Saturday 1 August 2020

Eid Mubarak

Pendle, Lancashire (of witches and lockdown fame)

With lockdown restrictions being eased in Leicester, just prior to Eid, the Government has imposed lockdown restriction across parts of East Lancashire (though not my part of it), West Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, also just prior to Eid. From that you could draw the conclusion that such decisions are based on local spikes in Covid-19 infections. Now, it could also be that the measures up North were brought it with the gatherings in homes associated with Eid in mind, given the sheer number of people involved, but it's a big, potentially inflammatory leap from that to saying that the the Government changed the rules on the eve of Eid specifically to target the Muslim population and stop them celebrating Islam's most important annual festival - something they weren't being stopped from doing.

In that light (in you accept it), what do you make of Sarah Smith on Today yesterday morning asking this question to Matt Hancock?:
Many people are wondering if this is specifically aimed in the north-west of England at the Muslim festival of Eid which culminates tonight and you could have expected a lot of people to get together, celebrating in each other's homes possibly rather than in bars and restaurants. Did you announce this late last night because you wanted it to be enforced today to stop those Eid celebrations?
Was she (a) just playing devil's advocate there and putting a question 'many people' would have wanted to hear the answer to couched in terms of their own language, or (b) - as the splendid Jane Kelly tweeted - did Ms Smith accuse the government of deliberately enforcing new restrictions in order to stop Eid celebrations? (Jane added, "I know the BBC is 'taking a stand' on racism but is it your job to increase social divisions & spread conspiracy theories?")

And what do you make of Judith Moritz, in a report broadcast throughout yesterday on BBC One, asking an unhappy Muslim couple in Oldham, "Do you think this timing was chosen because of Eid, it's to stop large family gatherings, large gatherings?" Sisyphus, on the departing open thread, calls this a "leading question", and I agree.

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