The last 24 hours will have been an emotional roller coaster ride for the people of London. Following the elation of winning the right to hold the 2012 Olympic Games, at least seven deadly explosions have brought death and tears to this ancient city.
The Olympic win promised to be an enormous boost to the East End, home to many impoverished groups including sub-continental Muslim migrants. Now these same migrants and their brethren in communities across the Western World will once again be asked to explain and prove their loyalty.
And how should we Western Muslims respond? Should we cry discrimination? Should we remind our fellow citizens that we are just as English or American or French or Australian as they are?
Or should we appreciate their fears and uncertainties? Should we empathise with their feelings of vulnerability as they feel besieged by what appears to be yet another attack by extremists using our faith (pdf file 1.62MB) as an ideological weapon?
When western citizens are kidnapped by extremists with Muslim-sounding names, the reputation of Islam is hijacked. When western citizens are murdered and executed, Islam is also being murdered and executed. When western citizens are the target of injustice, Islam is treated unjustly.
Islam is a word that means “peace”. How can peace be established with bombs and suicide attacks and kidnappings? How can peace be spread through killing peaceful civilians?
Islam is a word that also means “surrender to God”. Our Lord never taught us to kill and maim civilians. Our God never taught us to harm people who do not harm us.
The English people recently delivered a severe blow to their government over its involvement in the Iraq invasion and occupation. Even before the war, some of the largest protest crowds marched through English cities including London. The hearts of English men and women are on the side of the victims, of innocent Iraqi children and women and men who die each day in Iraq and elsewhere across the Muslim world.
England has provided sanctuary to hundreds of Muslim refugees and dissidents fleeing repressive Muslim regimes. For over a decade, London was home to the late Abdul Majid Khoei, one of Iraq’s most senior religious figures. Muslim dissidents and activists speak their minds more freely in London than perhaps anywhere else in the world.
The time has come for these English Muslim dissidents and activists to raise their voices and condemn the attacks on the city that has provided them with freedom and sanctuary.
One of the best remembered incidents from early Islamic history is the story of repressed Muslim refugees fleeing from Mecca to Abyssinia at the orders of the Prophet Muhammad. This small band of Muslims sought protection and refuge from a Christian King, known in Islamic tradition as Najashi.
Najashi granted the Muslims a fair hearing and natural justice. Following an impassioned speech by the Prophet’s cousin, Jafar, Najashi ordered that the refugees be granted sanctuary for as long as they wished to remain in his kingdom.
Discuss in our Forums
See what other readers are saying about this article!
Click here to read & post comments.
144 posts so far.