Fear knocked on the door…

Telegraph advert by Muslim Council of Great Britain

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.

I was reminded of this beautiful quote by Geoff Thompson during a TEDx talk this weekend. It fits perfectly with the sentiment shared by Antoine Leiris after he lost his wife in the Paris attacks.

Fear knocked on the door.
Love answered.
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.

One voice.

 

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4 thoughts on “Fear knocked on the door…

  1. I completely sympathise with this article. There’s too much negative emphasis in the press and social media about the Muslim community having a lack of consideration for the Paris attacks… or that they have a responsibility to prevent radicalisation. I’ll definitely share your facebook post!

  2. This is a post I initially placed on my Facebook page which was warmly received:

    To all Muslims on my Facebook and beyond, I wanted to say I feel so desperately sorry for you all. You’ve all been tainted by something you had absolutely no control over.

    I know virtually all of you have lived here most of your lives. I know all of you desire peace above all else.

    I know you all believe we are small vessels in a huge ocean of turmoil and you shouldn’t have to apologise or defend something you had nothing to do with.

    There might be a lot of islamaphobia coming your way soon. I have no doubt atrocities will continue whether they’re in Europe, Africa or the middle east but there is already so much hate, so you won’t be getting any from me.

    Please know that as a Sikh I will always have your back and I’ll always defend you the absolute best I can. Stay strong whilst you mourn with us for all the atrocities in this world regardless of who committed them or where…

  3. HI Zakia

    Thanks for your post, which I have shared, about the Paris terror attacks. I just want you to know that we are listening and most of us feel the same. I have copied and pasted a post at the bottom of this message which I made recently. I feel ashamed that anyone in this country would feel differently. I think many people have made the mistake of thinking we didn’t even need to speak out because it goes without saying but obviously in every section of society, the narrow minded, prejudice individuals with a big voice can make us feel that their opinion is representative.
    I wish we could do a bracelet campaign or something we could all wear to show the solidarity we feel.

    Much love, Mhairi

    This was my post:

    I can’t remain silent any longer. I’d like to join in the campaign made by Muslims across the world “not in my name” about the backlash of prejudice from many in the western world which has occurred after the Paris attacks. I thought it went without saying that we would not blame and victimise the innocent Muslim people we share our home with. But sadly from the many stories I am reading in the press, it seems that the fear and anger at the tiny minority that undertook the attacks may be taking seed. Please read a book called ‘Defying Hitler’ by Sebastian Haffner about the rise of Nazi Germany to understand why this backlash is as frightening as the attacks themselves . I want to make this post to say to my Muslim neighbours who live peaceable lives in out country, who work hard and contribute to our society, who provide us with valuable and much needed skills in many areas and who make my life much richer with the beautiful diversity that living in a multicultural society gives; I am proud to be your neighbour and friend and you are welcome here. I know the terrorists do not represent you and I do not blame or fear you. I respect your culture and send you my respect, love and peace. I would never consider sharing anything like this but I believe we must unite, not divide or the terrorists have won. Please share and I hope my message will reach many of our Muslim neighbours to know that the vast majority of us do not agree with the minority in our country who may show prejudice after the Paris attacks.

  4. Thank you for your blog regarding the attacks in Paris and the aftermath.. In my case I have always known in my heart that those who have given their lives over to violence, terror, and evil cannot be said to be of the Muslim faith. I am a Christian, you are a Muslim, we are brothers and sisters, not just as members of humanity but because we are “people of the book” who actually share some of the insights of the prophets through their writings. They teach us that we need to love each other, support each other and care for each other. To harm people is an evil and a sin. This is the creed that binds us together through our religions.

    I am ashamed that Muslims have slandered and mistreated, vilified and assaulted. I pray for all Muslims who have suffered in this way. As the statement says, we must stand united, face and destroy the evil.

    I leave you with a prayer for peace from the famous collection of du`as al-Hisn al-Hasin
    (“The Mighty Fortress”) by Muhammad al-Jazri, completed during the siege of Damascus 20 Dhul Hijjah 791 / 9 December 1389.

    O Allah, unite our hearts
    and set aright our mutual affairs,
    guide us in the path of peace.

    Liberate us from darkness by Your light,
    save us from enormities whether open or hidden.

    Bless us in our ears, eyes, hearts, spouses, and children.
    Turn to us; truly you are Oft-Returning, Most Merciful.

    Make us grateful for Your bounty and full of praise for it,
    so that we may continue to receive it
    and complete Your blessings upon us.

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