As the news of London terror attack unfolded my initial thought of pain and anger and frustration made me think that I am disappointed in humanity. Later as the stories of heroism and acts of selflessness started to appear in the media I had to take it back.
Doctors and nurses running from St Thomas's hospital to help the wounded without thinking of their own safety and security, police and emergency workers working tirelessly despite going through the grief of losing one of their own or the MP who instead of saving his own life ran in the opposite direction and tried to save the life of the wounded and dying policeman. These are the stories that will and should define the London terror attack, not the barbaric cruel and senseless act of terror.
The difficult thing that I find now is to explain to my children who are at the age when they are getting more aware of what's happening in the world. They do not understand that while they are being taught Islamic values of peace, tolerance, forgiveness, charity and obedience to the rule of law from a very young age, how can anyone do something entirely opposite in the name of Islam or being a Muslim. To be honest with you, I don't have an answer to that question as I cannot understand the sick mentality of a terrorist. Where does all that hate come from?
This is not the Islam I know or follow. This is not the Islam that my beloved Prophet and my holy book has taught me. People take verses from the Holy Quran out of context and twist them around for their own agendas, whether they are terrorist organisations or people who hate Islam. Those verses were specific instructions in the time of war, the war that was waged against Muslims in early days of Islam and they fought back in their own defence. And even this was only allowed after years of brutal and barbaric persecution that the Prophet and his followers faced at the hands of the Meccans.
People seem to ignore verse after verse after verse in the Quran which speaks about compassion and mercy and forgiveness. How it talks about the rights of neighbours, the rights of people who are travelling or the ones you find travelling along. This is the Islam that I know and love which teaches me to wage a jihad of self reformation, which requires of me self analysis day after day to see if I have paid my dues to Allah and His creation. If all Muslims return to the true teachings of Islam the world would be a much better place. Islam does not need reformation but some Muslims do.
I belong to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community and our community has been persecuted by the mainstream Muslims for over 100 years now. We have faced terrorism where our community members have been killed by other Muslims just because of our belief. Our community was declared non Muslims by the Govt of Pakistan in 1974 and regularly our members are killed in the name of our beloved Prophet in Pakistan and other countries. Currently we are facing state sponsored systematic cleansing in Algeria. But despite that we continue to be the most peaceful community. We are guided by our leader Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad who keeps reminding us of our duties towards humanity. He himself continues to strive towards establishing world peace by delivering lectures and addresses on this topic and engaging with World leaders and media.
Yesterday members of our community were out in Trafalgar Square at the vigil held for the victims, showing solidarity and sharing the grief of those who have lost their loved ones. We have always been at the forefront of bringing communities together and we will continue to do so within our smaller circles and within larger society. We will not get tired and we will not be defeated.
I saw a Facebook post by another Muslim claiming the only reason Muslims come out and condemn these attacks is because they are fearful of islamophobia and the backlash that may follow. I am sorry but that's not true. Muslims come out and condemn these attacks because we are also grieving for the barbaric loss of our fellow human beings. We come out and show solidarity to our fellow country men and women in the tragedy that has befallen us. We come out because we stand together with our fellow citizens in this hour of need giving comfort to each other. Because this is what Islam is about.
This barbaric attack, the details of which are harrowing to say the least, has been too close to home and made it ever more painful. London is my adoptive home, I am an immigrant to this country. This home has given me peace, opportunities, love and freedom to practice my faith and I can never be grateful enough to my country and will work for its betterment to the end of my days. The area of London itself has its place in my heart. When my baby girl was born at St Thomas's hospital, I had the most amazing view from my room of Westminster bridge and Houses of Parliament. I used to watch pedestrians, buses and cars drive on that bridge. Tourists standing like flocks of birds taking selfies or waiting for the right spot to become free. To think someone brutally killed innocent people on that bridge was heart wrenching.
My husband works as a neonatologist at St Thomas's Hospital. I know the amount of hard work and dedication that goes on in that unit trying to save the lives of tiny babies day in and day out. To think that someone, just yards away from that unit, could mercilessly kill innocent people with no respect for the sanctity of human life is beyond comprehension and very very sad. They were someone's fathers, mothers and loved ones. This is not right!
Now more than ever before we need to promote the logo of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community
" Love for All, Hatred for None"
Now more than ever humanity has to unite under this logo.
Now more than ever we need to stand together as human beings.
For our sake and for the sake of our children.