Published in The Independent News
Copyright, All Rights Reserved
Saturday 15th November 2015
The condemnation and the sense of horror has been the universal human reaction to the events in Paris. Even if we aren’t directly affected, we still feel some of the pain of the families of those killed and injured.
As a Muslim I am not only shocked at the evil and carnage inflicted on innocent people, but I am equally if not more so angry that these people should do so through some misguided and warped grasp of my faith.
But there is also a real concern that in the days ahead, there will be those who will try to use the Parisian atrocity to divide the British society and as an excuse to launch attacks against Muslims, as happened after the Charlie Hebdo attacks earlier this year.
With a number of horrific tweets talking about killing all Muslims and with people such as Richard Dawkins equating Islam with Nazism, we need to be vigilant. WikiLeaks has suggested that it is indeed the strategy of Daesh in France is to provoke a crackdown on Muslims.
Some parents have therefore been advising their daughters to remove their headscarf for fear of attack, and many women, including my own wife, feeling unsafe to go out today even though the attacks happened in France.
In the past week, British Muslims have also been rocked by suicide attacks devastating Beirut which killed over 40 people, and in Baghdad, which took over 20 lives. Da-esh or the so-called “ISIL” (who are anything but Islamic) have claimed responsibility for each of these attacks. These incidents come on the back of thousands being killed by Daesh in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, amongst others.
There are many who feel wary of trying to restate the fact that #MuslimsAreNotTerrorists, which is currently trending on Twitter – given these actions are anything but Islamic. Once again there will be a debate as to whether Muslims should be compelled to condemn those terrorists who kill in our name. Sadly, I feel we have no option but to make sure our voice is heard.
There is also a desire to move beyond words and show solidarity through action. It is remarkable to see the scale and speed of reaction from Muslim communities across the country. By this morning - less than one day after the attack - a silent vigil had been organised by the Christian-Muslim Forum with support from the MCB and numerous other groups across the country. At 6:30pm, tea lights and blue, white and red flowers will adorn Trafalgar Square for the vigil.
As we all mourn the devastation caused by these terrorists, who try and claim legitimacy from the faith of Islam, and as we all support effective methods to keep our nation safe and secure, we cannot let the terrorists win by dividing us. Together, we must stand united.