Being a British Muslim in this country is becoming increasingly difficult, as extremism is plastered on our newspapers every day in order to “warn people” of an upcoming attack on the UK. I abhor extremism, but what I abhor more is the belief that we are all one. What is happening in the Middle East has nothing to do with me.
Nesrine Malik put it perfectly in her article for The Guardian a few days ago, “Is your Islam “British”? If not, then you are Part of the Problem”. Her response to The Sun’s article on standing up to extremism hit the nail on the head. If you are a British Muslim in the UK today, you must stand up against extremism in all shapes and sizes, otherwise you are simply an extremist in yourself. The Sun’s article was a small example of everything that is wrong with the media today – if you continue to fear monger, people will continue to spout their hatred.
The Middle East today, as many already know, is falling apart in front of our eyes. ISIS and Assad alone are two problems in two countries that are spiralling out of control, and it would take a long time to explain the logic behind it all. For the purposes of this article, let’s focus on ISIS – a brutal gang of thugs, roaming the streets of Iraq and Syria to not only forcefully instil Sharia Law on the citizens, but to inhumanly murder those who don’t agree. A documentary on Vice News explains how ISIS members burned down a cross on a Church in Iraq and turned it into a Mosque, where all Christians can come and pledge their allegiance to the Islamic State. Not only are the mob ruthlessly massacring scores of Christians, and forcing people into Islam, they are now capturing and killing innocent British citizens such as the aid worker Alan Henning, who travelled to Syria to give food to young starving children.
The UN-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are committing awful atrocities abroad, but I am not. “Go back to your country” and “You don’t deserve to be British” won’t work on me. I am the daughter of immigrants who arrived in the UK to seek refuge after the Lebanese Civil War. I was born here, I am a British citizen. As one girl on twitter wrote – “If you think Muslims aren’t condemning ISIS, it’s not because Muslims aren’t condemning ISIS. It’s because you’re not listening to Muslims”. This is true. One must ask however is it fair to ask me to do this? If I had asked British Jews to speak out against the Israeli offensive that occurred in July, is that fair? Is it fair to ask British Catholics to deplore the sexual abuse scandals that have surfaced since the 1980’s across the world?
The more I browse Twitter and Facebook, the more worried I feel about the future of Muslims in this country. Being a Muslim and being an extremist are not directly linked, which is why British Muslims are becoming frustrated with the misconceptions. ISIS do not fight their unholy war in my name, and I am sure many Muslims will agree with me.