Grenfell Tower

Elliot's Round up: Acid Attacks and Hampers

image credit: Hiroyuki Takeda flickr

image credit: Hiroyuki Takeda flickr

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?

Elliot's Roundup: Hate is easy. Love takes courage.

image: clive wren flickr

image: clive wren flickr

Travelling through the city centre I was startled to see messages of sympathy and support for the victims of the Manchester attack. I pass the same way regularly but for some reason I had not seen it before. Just as that tragic news became our new reality, the London Bridge attack happened.  Following on from that- this week the the Grenfell Tower burst into flame and quickly spread through the building. Today's media roundup comes in the light of all these tragic events and loss of life.  The title for today's blog and picture come from a Muslim community rally against terrorism that was held in Sheffield less than a week ago.

There has been further condemnation of the London attack by various Muslim communities in the UK. Three thousand roses were handed out on London Bridge by Muslims as a show of unity with those who were injured and killed in the attack.

We are here to write narratives of love of love and solidarity. Not hate and division.

Grimsby Islamic Community have also invited wider members of the community, including the North East Lincolnshire's Mayor,  councillors, members of the police and public to en event in the mosque. The aim was to show that the London Bridge attack was "not in my name."  Elsewhere in Glasgow a Muslim anti-terror rally has been held. 

The generosity of a Muslim in Surrey has been seen online. The article describes how a Muslim lady shared a meal with her non-Muslim neighbour as well as sharing some information about Ramadan. A picture of a Muslim who helped an elderly lady who had collapsed on a bus has also been shared tens of thousands of times on social media this week. 

“Her gesture has really made me think – it’s one of those things which stop you in your tracks, and make you look at yourself like ‘what am I doing now, and if I’m not doing anything, what could I do?’

“I’ve always grown up with the ‘someone else will do it’ attitude, but it’s about time I started being that person rather than observing that person.”

Since the London Bridge attack there has also been a rise in hate crime, a 500% increase in Islamophobic crime and a 40% rise in racist incidents has been reported. for example: recently  a Muslim mother was punched in the face in Birmingham,a bag of vomit was recently thrown at a car carrying two Muslim women in Blackburn, Lancashire. 

Perhaps this spike in incidents will be turned around by the reporting in the Telegraph, Independent, Sun, and Daily Mail and elsewhere. Many Muslims have been hailed as heroes for saving lives in the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London. The blaze tore through the 24 storey building causing many to be hospitalised and 17 at this time are known to have been killed. Muslims in the area were awake and so were able to help evacuate the building and prevent further loss of life. The fact that Muslims were awake because of Ramadan and so were able to help was also widely reported on TV news including Channel 4 and  BBC news.   The charity Muslim Hands have launched an appeal, as have Muslim Aid who are also working in conjunction with churches to aid those who have been left homeless. 

There are many opportunities to interact with our Muslim neighbours, colleagues and friends. Let's not be part of the problem. Let's choose love not hate. Many Muslims say that they got to know Jesus though supernatural dreams, reading the and having a longterm friendship with a follower of Jesus.  Let's be that friend this week. The message of Jesus comes wrapped in a person- that means you and me!