Tameena Hussain, Maidenhead Conservative Future Chair.
First of all, my heart goes out to Lee Rigby’s family and my sincere condolences to them.
It’s been almost a week since the murder of our fallen soldier. As a British resident, I was angered & saddened by the attack on one of our armed forces. No innocent man deserves to have his life taken away from him and no-one of any faith should carry out or witness this inhumane act.
As a British Muslim, I was saddened to see a number of people, although a minority abusing other Muslims & I, and telling us to go back home. What I say to these people is that, like you I was born in the UK and like you I’ve been raised in the UK and therefore the UK is my home.
However, the saddest thing was that in the immediate aftermath, rather than thinking of the victim, we started to play the blame game. Whatever happened to humanity and caring for each other?
Don’t get me wrong, everyone did think of Lee but it took some time. It was disappointing that the extremists got more attention and are still are getting more attention than Lee. We’re letting them win in some respects. Why are mainstream channels giving radical preachers like Anjem Choudary air-time? Why is everyone talking about the EDL – they’re just as bad as the extremists. If you want to give anyone air-time, give it to people like Ajmal Masroor or Julie Siddiqui who work hard with their organisations to make a positive change.
Any individual who lives here yet preaches hatred about the UK, our honourable armed forces, doesn’t respect our law, doesn’t respect the multi-cultural society we live in, quite simply needs to question themselves as to why they are living in a country where they hold such disregard. If you wish to influence government policies, then use local platforms. If you are so passionate about going to war or are unhappy with the way the Government is being run, stand up to them by standing in local elections and working in local communities. Don’t use government policies as an excuse to attack innocent people.
In the last few days we’ve also heard Mosques are being attacked and war memorials being defaced. My message to those criminals carrying out these mindless acts – “what makes you any better than those who kill?” As much as it’s hurtful to hear of these stories, don’t give them coverage. Instead give coverage to those who deserve it, like the York Mosque who invited locals and even the EDL, to talk and debate constructively and was attended by around 100 people. However events like these happen up and down the country on a regular basis, unfortunately they are unreported.
Terrorism is everywhere – America, Syria, Africa, UK and it comes in many forms too. The definition of terrorism is: “The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes or to further religious ideologies”
I believe the media find it difficult to class what terrorism is, although there is a horrifying pattern forming. Let me give you an example, in the immediate aftermath of the acts of terror from Anders Behring Breivi it was known as the Norway massacre, or the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting when 27 people were killed, it was known as a mass shooting. However if you look at the Woolwich murder, immediately it was classed as ‘Islamist Extremism’. I don’t support these physcopaths in any shape or form but there needs to be consistency from politicians and the media. The media is so powerful, it’s unreal. The general perception of ordinary English people is that Muslims do fit in well, and they get on, however the media portrays this differently – always pointing out negatives. The media has the power to change perceptions, to focus on the positives – when was the last time a Muslim was highlighted for their good actions.
As a country we have come along way from 9/11 and 7/7 in terms of unity between different groups and faiths, but there is always room for improvement. Everyone has to work harder, perhaps Muslims need to be heard louder and be seen to work much harder than others because of the immediate link between terrorism and Islam. However, that’s down to perception and it needs to change and change fast.
The Quran says “Whosoever killeth a human being, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind”
So let’s be clear in saying that no faith and no sane person supports the killing of the human race.