I never thought I would live to write the words that will follow, but here goes. I am grateful to Ben Affleck. Not particularly for his outrage or his insights on Bill Maher's show, which, albeit entertaining, were not exactly all that insightful, but more so for bringing a particular brand of Islamophobia to the attention of the world - the kind peddled by we-love-liberalism-ers like Bill Maher and Sam Harris.
As long as Muslim communities do not have the equivalent to a Chief Rabbi, sadly, there will be a space in the social sphere which will be filled by those who are less interested in the welfare of Muslim communities, and more interested in making a name for themselves. Now is the time to grab this challenge with both hands.
In Islam, there is a concept known as 'Ummah'. In Arabic it simply means a group of people, or a nation, but in the context of the Quran it takes on a different meaning. A Muslim Ummah is a nation of people connected together by the ties of their religion... Muslims need to unite together to protect Islam from those who fought against it.
This is the time for politicians of all hues to work with and not against the local and (new) national leadership in the Muslim communities. It may be weak and poorly organised, led largely by volunteers. But who is out there to engage with the Muslim community and bring a semblance of understanding and balance as well as practical support to the challenges they face to get things right?
As we move forward, we call for Police and Crime Commissioners and police forces across the country to place anti-Muslim hate at the heart of their hate crime strategies. No longer can tackling anti-Muslim hate be an appendage or an after-thought on hate crime strategies and it must be placed front and centre with other protected strands so that citizens of our country, who happen to be Muslim, can live their lives free from bigotry