Maajid Nawaz analyses 'trauma' at heart of BAME vaccine skepticism

21 February 2021, 16:25 | Updated: 21 February 2021, 16:35

By Seán Hickey

Maajid Nawaz implores the public to consider the 'psychological impact' of oppression and historical 'mistrust' of government in minority communities before criticising vaccine skeptics.

"What I'm asking you to do is understand why there's a mistrust," Maajid Nawaz began.

"If you dismiss people and say they're beyond hope because they believe in conspiracy theories" he said, "it is you who is beyond hope because you've stopped listening to victims."

"Historically there's a mistrust because historically government power has come along and bulldozed individuals who have no power."

Maajid brought comparison to the war on terror and his experience of imprisonment during that time frame. He used the example of being injected involuntarily in an Egyptian jail and asked listeners to "imagine the psychological impact," that would have had on his now 21 year old son.

He asked listeners to consider the apprehension of someone with a similar experience might have when told by a government they rarely interact with to come forward to be vaccinated.

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"When you're worried about why vaccines aren't being taken up in Birmingham, when you're worried about why vaccines aren't being taken up in ethnic minorities, think about the trauma that exists in our communities, why there's a mistrust."

"Instead of coming out like a crazy person and saying that the solution is to mandate vaccines – which only fuels the conspiracy even further – stop and check your privilege, check yourselves, understand why people are skeptical and talk to them rather than at them."

Maajid went on: "You don't know what these communities have been through when it comes to mistrust of government and power."

He commended the work of people such as Lord Woolley and celebrity endorsements in ensuring vaccine take-up in minority communities.

Maajid summarised why he saw skepticism in BAME communities: "Really nasty stuff has happened to people in the name of common good by government"

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