THE BLOG

Looking Beyond 'The Culprit Being Muslim'

24/05/2017 08:31 BST | Updated 24/05/2017 08:32 BST
Stefan Wermuth / Reuters

An attack has taken place in Manchester, which has affected people across the nation. Unprovoked and unexpected. Innocent people and children have died. Those who had their full lives ahead of them. Many injured physically and emotionally. I cannot begin to imagine the heartache and suffering of those affected and can only hope a resolve is reached. There are bound to be repercussions, justice must prevail and we don't expect anything less.

It is when those repercussions are projected to a community, instead of the root causal issue, is when things become dangerous. In an already volatile society, these events continue to add tension, fear and hatred amongst each other with such horrific acts taking place. There have already been mosques that have been targeted as revenge.

Any time I hear something of this nature on the news, whether it's a bomb, explosion, knife attack or gun shooting, I immediately start thinking, "Oh no, please don't let it be a Muslim" and assume the same. This is indoctrination from media reporting Muslims as the primary suspect and using religion to be controversial. Even if the culprit has not been identified, the connotations have already been made. Our minds learn to associate one with the other after being exposed to such rhetoric over several years.

When a terror attack is carried out, Muslims are expected to over compensate and there is a consensus one must actively condemn terrorism otherwise it indicates you support it. Raising money, attending vigils, organising demonstrations and being prepared to face those who are ready to spit racial or religious abuse. Its already evident with people avoiding eye contact and minimising contact with someone who has been portrayed as a perpetrator. Muslims feel the need to be overly cautious and be wary of their speech and actions, as everything is under scrutiny. A slight hint of a smile in the coming days may indicate that the attack has been accepted. This most definitely is not the case.

Terrorism is an act of unauthorised act of violence or intimidation used for a political pursuit. Almost immediately before any investigations had been conducted, the word terrorism and terror attack had been used. The Muslim community have always condemned violence long before terrorism was associated with Islam. If you are under any misconception that Muslims condone violence or terror, just have a look online. Your friends on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter... Google "Muslims against terrorism", news articles and blogposts will flood your search. There are THOUSANDS of Muslims standing in solidarity with the victims and their families against those who have committed such acts. Muslim scholars, Imams, institutions reject terrorism on an unbelievably huge scale! When a minority within a minority try to romanticise the idea of violence, mosques and the local community turn these types of preachers away and do not welcome their mindset. On a regular basis, Muslims are rejecting such notions. We must learn to disassociate Islam with terror to find the root cause of these horrific acts. We must learn the real reason behind such attacks rather than putting it under the banner of 'culprit being a Muslim'. This does no justice to the victims or the families hurting.

By no means, is this an attempt to disregard or devalue the lives lost and those injured in Manchester's attack. It has been uplifting to see support from countless people, but saddening it is under such tragic circumstances. We must continue to stand together and support each other through such times. In unity is our strength. All thoughts go out to those who have lost a loved one and those who have been affected.