“Ignorance of each other is what has made unity impossible in the past. Therefore we need enlightenment. We need more light about each other. Light creates understanding, understanding creates love, love creates patience, and patience creates unity”
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz
Inna Illahi wa inna ilahi rajoon.
This past week we have witnessed a brutal terrorist attack in Hanau, Germany killing 10 people including a pregnant woman. This occurred just days after German police arrested 12 men on suspicion of forming a far-Right terror cell and planning several shooting attacks on mosques. While the circumstances of the London Central Mosque stabbing are unclear, the online response blaming the victim and demonising the whole congregation has been chilling. As a local community, many members have faced (sometimes violent) racist and Islamophobic incidents directed at them personally or their homes.
Now we hear the comments of a certain Irish Businessman and the Slovakian president openly stereotyping and demonising Muslims without shame.
In the words of Baroness Warsi back in 2011, “Islamophobia has passed the dinner-table test.” No religion is above discussion – but this is not about religious debate. Muslims, as individuals, have faced stereotyped portrayals and demonisation. Too often we have normalised abuse or prejudice directed at us in everyday life. Paranoid discourses of an imaginary ‘clash of civilisation’ ignores the everyday reality of Muslims living, working and contributing as members of society.
For many years, like Muslim communities throughout the UK and Ireland and worldwide, we have stood and condemned extremism and terrorism. We continue to do so, hoping that other voices will join in also condemning the extremism and normalisation of hate directed specifically at Muslim communities.
“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. ”