Barbarous acts of terrorism, including recent events in Paris, have fed a perception of Muslims as killers in the name of God. I have wanted to respond, so many times, to blogs, tweets, Facebook posts etc. to correct and educate, to bring back truth lost among the abhorrent acts of psychopaths. I prayed for an authoritative voice bigger than my own to speak out. On the morning of 18th November I saw a full page advert in The Daily Telegraph by the The Muslim Council of Great Britain. Here was a united voice speaking the truth of Islam – a condemnation of the attacks, denouncing terrorism using the name of Islam and an affirmation of pluralism and tolerance. Finally!
The media would rather show you a masked killer wielding a kalashnikov or machete than show you the heart and soul of the average Muslim. I wanted the advert to reach further. NB – I’m no activist nor political critic, I’m just a bog-standard, ordinary, woman, mother, British Muslim. I took a picture, wrote a quick rant/passionate plea and posted it to my Facebook feed. I made the post public – what was there to lose? It wasn’t long before I got my first like and share (I have amazing friends). Through the day the numbers trickled upward and I went to bed feeling like I’d done something good.
When I checked my Facebook app next morning the post had been shared by 65 friends! I posted a thank you and a friend responded to say the reach was much more and quoted 1300… She’s such a kidder!
She wasn’t joking. As I press the ‘go’ button on this post the Facebook shares total is 35,252
My Facebook profile is private and I will be keeping it that way. My core friends have helped share this message far and wide. I have been deeply touched by the response to this post and would like to thank the MCGB for giving me the opportunity to educate people and share with those waiting – as I have – for a voice of calm authority to speak for true Islam and Muslims everywhere. The people calling themselves ISIS (Daesh is more accurate) by their vicious acts, can not be Muslims. I would also like to thank the thousands who have shared this post and made it a global message.
My inbox is full of messages from around the globe including a Muslim lady in Paris who shared her fear of further terror attacks AND a backlash against Muslims. (Even my little old Mum – who prays for peace everyday – is unsettled.) Most messages are of thanks; some ask why the ad is necessary, one confessed a change in opinion. I have been blessed and prayed for. I am overwhelmed by the compassion of strangers. I’ve been getting pretty emotional and while I feel a responsibility to respond to them all I haven’t been able to.
Fear knocked on the door.
There was no one there.
Fear and anger go hand in hand. Lets not go there. Can the fiery flames of anger be calmed with the voice of love?
Good versus evil… Is it too romantic of me to think we can do this?
My prayers join with those of every colour, culture and creed.