In light of this week’s events, I felt the need to return to my blog that I haven’t even thought of for c. 2 years. I have never read the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and before this week, I hadn’t even heard about them: therefore I cannot comment if their publishing went beyond satirical and did offend and become racist. However, even if this were the case, that is no reason to ‘open fire’. I would also like to point out that I have no issue with Islam or religion in general. I don’t have a religion to identify with, however, I thoroughly envy those who do and have a god/gods/ideology to turn to when they go through tough times. Also, I have Muslim, Christian, Atheist, (I would have Jewish friends but I’ve probably met a total of two Jews in my life, one of whom ate pork), black, white, Asian, European (outside of the UK) friends – because I’m not a dick who chooses their friends based on religion or ethnicity.
So, back to the shootings. I refuse to call the shooters Muslim. The Qur’an does not teach or preach violence – people often believe this because of jihad, or rather, how ‘Muslims’ use the term jihad. Jihad is the struggle in religion, meaning going through Ramadan,continuing to believe when others around you don’t – not blowing up the twin towers, forming Al Qaeda or suicide terrorism in general. Islam actually condemns suicide, in this sense the terrorists have already strayed from their religion. This is why I, and my Muslim friends, refuse to refer to ‘Muslim extremists’ as Muslim: in the same way I refuse to call the KKK Christian: these people are ignorant to the basic principals of their own religion. As has been revealed in the course of this week, the Paris shooters were in fact not that religious and had been prosecuted for other, more menial crimes; leading to my rationalising that they are not, in any way, Muslim and have used this as an excuse to go on a murder spree.
It saddens me that as a result of Wednesday’s events, #KillAllMuslims was trending on Twitter and I thank the Lord-I-don’t-fully-believe-in for people like @MUSLIMSAREGOOD who have tried to counteract it’s harmful message. The ignorance to the religion is depressing. The issue is that (speaking from my experiences as a Brit) in big cities with a high Muslim/Asian population, like Birmingham, there is a strong hatred toward this ethnic group. This is possibly for the same reason for the hate in ‘The South’ of the USA (coincidentally, also in Birmingham, wonder if there’s something in that…) with the African-American population – it’s fear of being suppressed, fear of the majority and numbers of people who are ‘different’. Similarly, in areas of a small or next-to-nothing Muslim population leads to strong racism purely due to ignorance and lack of interaction with the religion. I know I’m focusing on the Muslim population but this is also the case with any ethnic minority – I also understand that not everyone in an area of a high or low ethnic minority population is racially prejudice.
As I stated, I don’t know what Charlie Hebdo have published but I do know that walking into the publishing office with an automatic gun is morally wrong. If the attackers felt that the newspaper was being offensive beyond satire (which I doubt as they’re not actually Muslim) then there is a nicer, more rewarding, legal way to express this opinion – either complain to the company itself or, even better, sue them. I think you’ll find that this is a lot more satisfying as it could make you very rich. The other positive side of this is that no one gets injured or killed and no one is arrested, giving a bad name to a whole group of people – it’s a win-win for everyone, really. PS. Sorry to the girls in The Attic who I nicked this point from, it was a very good point! 😛
Finally,I would like to say that when I used to go to the designated prayer room (or ‘quiet room’ as the school called it) with my friend H at lunch time, whilst we still went to school together, I found it so relaxing and peaceful to watch this unique and spiritual connection she had with God/Allah (however you identify he/she/gender neutral). I was also amazed at how secluded this form of prayer allows you to be. I have witnessed this with other Muslims as well, and others in pray in general. Trust me, the noise that my non-Muslim/praying friends and I have made during their pray is astonishing, and they don’t even flinch. To me, this is beautiful and a representation of how any religion can truly focus you and bring peace in the chaotic world we live in. Overall, please don’t judge all Muslims on this event or any of the previous terrorist attacks from ‘Muslim’ extremists. This is no different to the IRA attacking the UK – we don’t hate all Irish people, no we claim them as our own even though the Republic of Ireland has not been part of the UK since 1922.
So, Britain, let’s claim the Muslims who have been born and raised in Britain (or have emigrated across), consider themselves British (or even if they don’t, they still live here), have a British passport thus British citizenship as our own because, ladies and gentlemen, they are. These people are not the alien invaders from Mars in HG Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds’; they have no intention of exterminating you like the Daleks from Doctor Who; they’re not trying to imprison people for their intelligence and make you conform to their ways like The Alliance in Firefly; these people are human beings trying to live their lives like everyone else. Therefore, can we agree that we should stop generalising a whole group of people simply because they read the same holy script as a bunch of morons but interpret it differently and in a more positive light?
As a final note… to all those who have this misconception that all Muslims are trying to convert everyone to Islam, the only people who have ever knocked on my door or given me leaflets are Christians, never any body of any other religion.