In the aftermath of the dreadful attacks on Paris last week, another atrocity has found its way into our lives. It's been embedded into western society for years, and I fear the barbaric attacks that killed 129 innocent lives are only going to make matters worse.
I'm talking about Islamophobia.
Many claim that Islamophobia doesn't exist. Try telling that to the Muslim girl hounded with racist abuse on a London train, the hijab-wearing Muslim woman brutally attacked on a busy street, or the Muslim population in France who are changing their behaviour - avoiding going out after 6pm - in case they're attacked.
A recent report by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) found that two-thirds of the Muslim population in Britain admitted they had been subject to verbal abuse, and 82 percent said they had witnessed Islamophobia. Reported cases of physical assault have risen by four percent over the last five years.
Just a few days ago, an 81 year old man pushed a hijab-wearing Muslim woman into an oncoming train on the London underground. Thankfully she survived - suffering minor injuries - though her shock and fear will continue to live on.
A quick scroll through my Facebook feed following the attacks in Paris showed the abhorrent ignorance and racism that lies within many whom I considered friends - they have all been privately messaged and subsequently removed, though I will be sending this post to them.
"It's time for us to take matters into our own hands. If we don't want Paris to happen to us then we must go into every mosque in the country and close it down. It's time to stamp out Islam as a religion" read one post on my Facebook timeline just an hour after the attack.
Sadly this wasn't a single occurrence, I saw more posts condemning the entire Muslim population than I did posts showing solidarity with the victims and their families.
Another ignorant, though less extreme post read: "The scenes in Paris are heartbreaking. Every Muslim leader needs to come out and condemn this attack."
The problem is that they shouldn't have to. If they want to, then that is their prerogative and it's admirable that they do. However, by asking someone to apologise you're implying that it's they who are to blame. Muslims are NOT to blame, they themselves are also being targeted and killed.
A few days before the Paris atrocities, ISIS co-ordinated a suicide attack in Beirut, killing 43 people in the process - the majority of the dead being Sunni Muslims. Just days before that, ISIS extremists lined up and shot dead at least 50 men, women and children in Iraq.
ISIS are responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims. Yet instead of coming together against the mutual enemy, masses of people are targeting a specific group in society, a group who are also being slaughtered by the hands of this terrorist organisation. Demonising an entire religion based on the actions of a few extremists is not only wrong, but twisted and dangerous. It causes tension, divides communities, and leads onto horrendous crimes. The perpetrator's ignorance and prejudice in labelling an entire religion as such is what the country should be worrying about.
Do the actions of the Westboro Baptists speak for the entire Christian population? the Ku Klux Klan? Catholic peadophile priests? No. Of course not, the suggestion of it would dismissed almost instantaneously.
When Anders Breivik killed 77 people in the 2011 Norway attacks, no one expected Christians to come out and condemn him, no one called into question the intention of the entire Christian population. Instead, he was hailed up as a mentally troubled lone wolf.
Despite this, masses of people seem to find it logical that all Muslims are in fact Kalashnikov wielding, Islamic State terrorists. There is no rational argument to support this.
There are 1.57 billion Muslims in the world - ISIS is made up from less than 1% of this figure - but yes, all Muslims are terrorists right? It's common sense...
We should be coming together to show solidarity for France and the families of the victims and survivors - not using the attack to aid a personal agenda of hatred and to incite violence.
The murder of 129 innocent civilians in Paris last week, the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, and the London bombings of 2005 were not carried out by Muslims. They were carried out by jihadists. They're terrorists; Islamist fundamentalists who have manipulated the writings of a religion to suit their own perverted narrative, ideology, and collective gain.
Another result of the attacks in Paris has been a resurgence of hatred towards the refugees fleeing Syria. One of the terrorists was reported to have been a Syrian refugee which further sent the hyperbole regarding accepting refugees into meltdown.
'Shut our borders', 'place armed police on the streets', 'put the country on lockdown' are examples of just a few of the comments making the rounds on social media.
Yes we need to fight ISIS, we need to neutralise them - save the thousands of innocent lives who are being killed in the masses. However, we don't do that by turning our own societies into the oppressive regimes which we have historically fought so hard against. We do not turn our back on those in need.
As has been previously covered, the events that shook Paris last week are happening every single day in ISIS controlled territory. The refugees aren't fleeing because they want to "steal your benefits" or "take over your country". They're fleeing because their homes are being destroyed and their families lined up and shot in front of them.
Despite the attack - and the subsequent pressure not to - France is still accepting 30,000 Syrian refugees. They are not conforming to the aims of a terrorist organisation, they're defying it.
If we continue with this process of separation and violence then we will only get more of the same. ISIS heavily relies on propaganda, and by creating hatred towards Muslims in the western world, they're playing a clever strategy. Their aim is for us to be scared, they want our society to be persecuting the Muslim population - their hope is that they will gain more recruits.
If you're one of the people fear-mongering, spreading hatred, or inciting violence then congratulations, you're not fighting ISIS, you're aiding and abetting them.