A few nights ago, Britain experienced another TERRORIST attack. A man ran over worshipers outside of place of worship killing 1 and injuring 11, but he was white and the injured were Muslims… so he was probably mentally unstable. I mean mental instability has been proven to be more prevalent in the fairer skin. So, no big deal… right?
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) June 20, 2017
No. This act of terrorism was the result of years of implicit and explicit radicalisation and hate-speech of the right-wing within the UK. For years it’s been ignored, hidden behind authority, accepted by many and questioned by the few. A systematic attack looking to dehumanise Muslims and radicalise the masses without anyone even noticing. This attack has resulted in a 47-year- old terrorist killing an innocent person on Sunday outside of a mosque and injuring others.
How did it get this far? Why has it become acceptable for Muslims to die with no outrage? How can it be an acceptable to have such anger towards a group of people of a particular faith?
How did we get to the stage where former school mates find their main source of information of Islam from The Sun newspaper, and think it is appropriate to criticise a religion they know nothing about? Ignorance is bliss.
We begin with the explicit. The prevalence of hate preachers, such as Katie Hopkins, Maajid Nawaz, Tommy Robinson and many more. To them Sunday night was part of “the final solution”. For years we’ve given these people the airtime and a platform to openly spew hate; from calling Palestinians “filthy rodents”, to calling Muslims “enemy combatants”.
— BBC Newsnight (@BBCNewsnight) June 20, 2017
As a society, they’ve been accepted and allowed to spread their hatred and provided the opportunity to gain followers. Could you imagine if hate speakers were allowed to talk about negatively about Christianity in the media as freely and in the same way as it is done about Islam? It wouldn’t be accepted of course; there would be outrage. This is where, as a Muslim community, we fail. While we internally implode discussing who’s “kafir” or not, the enemy has been on guard and taking us down at every chance.
But that’s just the start, and it’s the implicit attack that really causes the damage and has done so for many generations across many different causes. The problem with this sort of attack is that it is not so easily visible; rather it is a lack of presence, lack of outrage and lack of condemnation. When a girl is abducted while walking home from the Mosque and killed because she is Muslim and it doesn’t become a headline story, something is wrong. When the authorities are hesitant to label a white man a terrorist, something is wrong. When the media labels the same man as a “white van man”, something is wrong. This a methodical attempt to subconsciously devalue the lives of one group while enhancing another. However, the problem being is that if you’re not part of the group being attacked, you don’t notice this happening.
Yesterdays attacker probably was a REAL lone wolf. No network, or visiting religious place preaching hate, no training, just a lone nut job
— Tommy Robinson 🇬🇧 (@TRobinsonNewEra) June 19, 2017
It’s the subtle things too. For example, a brown man is labeled a “radicalised terrorist” almost immediately, whereas a white man is portrayed as a family man of 4 who tucks his kids in every night and reads them bedtime stories. A black man shot down in the streets is a thug with a history of violence, while a white man shot down is a hard working individual just trying to make ends meet. It’s hard to not make this a race issue when it’s clear we humanise one group and demonise another.
Western men. These are your wives. Your daughters. Your sons. Stand up. Rise up. Demand action. Do not carry on as normal. Cowed.
— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) May 23, 2017
It is clear we have a problem with extremism, but so far we have only given extremists a voice. The only faces that seem to be prevalent in the media range from Anjem Choudhry to Tommy Robinson, and we wonder why we have a problem? Extremism has been given a voice of authority, but this has not come from the Mosques or from some hate group, but by the very people we consider our friends, our protectors… the media.
This, combined with constant misinformation and representation by, as Malcom X would put it, ‘Uncle Toms’, has led to a situation where the public has become desensitised. It is clear that once the public become indifferent, that is when you gain control (just ask Hitler!). We need to stop the Saira Khans and Maajid Nawazs from being the faces of moderate Islam, when they are only really Muslim by name. It is now incumbent on ourselves to be more vocal and to represent out religion and take control. This, however, requires an element of self-control.
The attention we give these people is the driving force behind why they keep coming back. A level of restraint has to be applied to ignore the ignorant, and as ironic as that sounds it’s the best way to silence these fools. The more we talk about Katie Hopkins, the more the media will air her views – controversy sells and silence can be our loudest voice.
As Muslims we have to control the narrative displayed of Islam, and as people, we need to minimise the portrayal of any kind of extremist on the TV, newspaper or any form of media.
If we don’t, we become slaves to the ignorant and manipulative, leaving ourselves no choice to be backed into a corner waiting for a bomb to explode by these invisible hate-preachers.
“The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they control the minds of the masses.” ―Malcolm X