Once again Muslims are being thrust under the spotlight. The tragic slaying of a British Soldier on the streets of Woolwich is both horrific and terrorising, but by simply listening to the political and religious rhetoric being shouted by one of the men responsible for this, we can see that his ideology is one not shared by the majority of Muslims.
These attacks are not because of Islam – they are because of a small group of disenchanted people who have been radicalised. Many people are talking about this like it is new but Britain has a history of this happening. The IRA, Animal Rights Militia, Angry Brigade, INLA etc have committed terrorist attacks in Britain because of political and religious ideology since the early 1970s. However, what is new is the savagery of the horror that took place, the public display of brutality, and the ostentation they showed whilst waiting for the police. It was so much more than a murder and according to the BBC, was “precisely the kind of attack that security chiefs have long feared could come”.
British Prime Minister, David Cameron, has already stated that there are “strong indications that this was a terrorist incident” and whilst only time will tell whether these individuals had any link to a particular extremist organisation, what is clear is they were two very deluded individuals with extremist ideas, which cumulated in a heinous murder. Their motivations were obvious as one of the men, after encouraging bystanders to film him on their phones, spouted:
“We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you. We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.”
It is also believed that the victim was targeted because he was a soldier, in protest of British Army involvement in Muslim lands. And yet, for hundreds of years Muslim soldiers, sailors and airmen have served, fought and died as part of the British Armed Forces. This alone serves to highlight the fatuity of the culprit’s motivations.
We MUST remember that the actions and proclamations of these men have the intention to spread fear, anger and hatred in our society, and if people respond to this in kind then their twisted interpretation of Islam is fed. Our resolve must be to do exactly the opposite. According to Muslim scholars around the world, the Quran (the central religious text of Islam) preaches peace, and not the falsified representation of Islam that extremists proclaim. In response to the monstrous events in Woolwich yesterday, leaders of different communities once again called for calm, peace and restraint in the coming days and weeks, and the Muslim Council of Britain have pleaded that:
“This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly. Our thoughts are with the victim and his family. We call on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.”
And so we should. Fear and frustration are a key motivator for violence and hatred, and we must try to resist casting hateful, uneducated and inaccurate stereotypes across a whole religion because of the horrific actions of a few. There is no faith, no country, and no culture that is not left untouched by evil in one form or another, and so we must stand up to this together.
Please… don’t #BlameTheMuslims