On home turf, with Islamophobia and myths being peddled about the religion and those who follow it, as well as the further racialisation of Muslims, critical thought and engagement is of the essence. Let's create a climate where that is genuinely possible, because 'we're all in this together' - right?
Today's front page headline in the Sun covers almost the entire page. Accompanied by a chilling photo of a knife-wielding "Jihadi John" in black balaclava, it proclaims "1 IN 5 BRIT MUSLIMS' SYMPATHY FOR JIHADIS". It is a lie. Even worse, it is a shameful distortion of its own polling data, consciously designed to fuel terror and distrust of Muslims.
The week has just begun but we have already new polling-related controversy to get stuck into. The Sun's front page today cites a poll by Survation of British Muslims and their attitudes towards terrorism and Syria... The question is asked with reference to "fighters". Many (if not most) people will be aware that there are a number of groups fighting in Syria of which the "Jihadis" are just one. Because the question doesn't mention any group(s) directly, those fighting against IS/ISIS/ISIL/Daesh could also fall within the respondent's interpretation of the question.
ISIS, and its warped manipulation of a faith that so many Muslims treasure, needs to be stopped. What they are doing is brutal, bloodthirsty, and vulgar. Our global solidarity against this dangerous group is our greatest weapon, and together, be we Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, atheist or agnostic, we need to harness this might, in order to combat them effectively. Understanding them to the best of our ability, is the first step.
As we were united in remembrance, they were united in their sacrifice - men and women of all faiths and of none. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and people of other minority faiths have served in the British Armed Forces across two World Wars, facing down the hatred of Nazism and helping keep Britain safe in its direst hours of need.