This week's media selection starts off with acid attacks. According to one report Newham has been named as Britain's acid attack capital with 415 attacks since 2010. There has also been a sharp rise in attacks in London with 431 last year compared to 261 in 2015. UK wide there has been a doubling of attacks. Jameel Mukhtar and Resham Khan have been left with life changing injuries as a result of an attack in East London in June. Initially police refused to register the attack as a hate crime but have reclassified it as a racially or religiously motivated crime. There is currently a petition to ban the sale of acids without a licence that can be signed.
Research suggests that the government's anti radicalisation "prevent" strategy is counter productive and causing Muslims to become further marginalised. Promoting "British Values" and emphasis on "Britishness" is seen as particularly problematic. Instead of "equipping them with the knowledge to question extremist and radical views," the policy could be causing increased stigmatisation of Muslim students making then less likely to speak out.
In a more positive light, Muslims are preparing to deliver hampers as a token of appreciation to fire fighters who fought the Grenfell Tower fire. Swansea's Muslim community has also been in the news for inviting everyone to an Eid in the Park event on Sunday, which will involve food, magic shows, inflatables and a football tournament. Eid was also celebrated in Trafalgar Square recently. (Video available here).
Swansea's Eid event is open to "all people regardless of age, sex, religion, creed or race." What an invitation! A free event- where everyone is welcome! What a challenge to me. I could probably be welcoming once a year given enough time to work up to it. I have received some great welcomes and magnificent hospitality so I know its important. But could I be welcoming everyday of the year, not just on a special occasion? I know a friend who is welcoming everyday not only for free but also for the desperate, the hungry, the thirsty, the overlooked,the tortured, the imprisoned, the refugee and the unloved. Jesus is still ready to welcome. Are we ready to follow him?