hate crime

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.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-muslims-london-bridge-red-roses-attack-borough-market-stabbing-terror-love-victims-islam-a7786291.html

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.”
— http://www.irishnews.com/magazine/daily/2017/06/11/news/this-tale-of-a-muslim-woman-gifting-her-neighbours-with-food-and-letters-about-ramadan-will-warm-your-heart-1051952/

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!

Elliot's weekly roundup: cancer, eradication and refugee hunting

image credit: flickr cranky messiah

A Ukip parliamentary candidate has described Islam as a "cancer" as well has praising  the founder of the English Defence League. Ms Santos later said,

“It was a turn of phrase, I’m not referring to a quarter of the world’s population any more than I meant the word ‘cancer’ to be taken literally.”
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ukip-islam-cancer-caroline-santos-tommy-robinson-tweet-a7716381.html

A Labour candidate has been sacked for reportedly making a number of comments about Islam.

Mr Merralls also allegedly engaged in conversation where he reportedly posted: “On a positive note that should eradicate islam from our continent for years”.
— http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/02/labour-sacks-candidate-investigation-calling-eradication-islam/

Further afield in Germany physical violence has taken over from verbal aggression. The article highlights the rise of  " vigilante mobs" that hunt down refugees.  According to the article four men set upon a refugee in his car with a baseball bat and knuckle duster. They also beat him when he was on teh ground and trying to escape. Nine days later the man died of his injuries including a fractured skull. His two children are traumatised by the death of their father.

The family’s lawyer, Christina Dissmann, said his wife “cannot comprehend how the perpetrators could continue attacking him when he was already lying on the ground…again and again they went after him and beat him”.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/four-men-germany-trial-beat-man-death-hunt-refugees-waldbroel-vigilante-gangs-bonn-court-migrants-a7715511.html

Reading the article reminded me of the violent attack in April on teenage asylum seeker Reker Ahmed in Croydon. These events are the very opposite of what we as Jesus followers stand for and seek to demonstrate. We have a choice how to relate to those around us. 

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
— James 3 v 17-18

Elliot's weekly round up: The Sheep and The Goat

Image: CC Pop H,  Flickr

Image: CC Pop H, Flickr

Last Friday Reker Ahmed, a 17 year old Kurdish Iranian student, was waiting at a bus stop in Croydon south London.  What happened to him next has been given much media attention.

he thought he was going to die

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-39503183

He was subjected to an unprovoked attack by up to thirty people. As a result Reker has suffered a fractured eye socket, a fractured spine and a blood clot on the brain. He was unable to recognise his brother when he visited him in London's Kings College Hospital.  Iraqi Kurds have condemned the attack. We can join with them in expressing our sympathy.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr Rekan Ahmed and we wish him a speedy recovery,”

 

 

http://aranews.net/2017/04/iraqi-kurds-condemn-attack-on-kurdish-asylum-seeker-in-uk/

Rather than being seen as an isolated event this attack can be seen as a part of a sustained increase in hate crime. As a result of the attack a number of people aged between 15 and 22 have been charged. Police are still investigating, there is an increased police presence on the streets surrounding the area.  In response to the attacks anti racist graffiti has appeared in the area.

I wonder if anti racist graffiti is enough?  The fact that this attack was launched from a pub named  The Goat reminds me of the passage in Matthew where the nations are separated as shepherds separate sheep and goats. 

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was ill and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
— Matthew 25

Giving money is a start, as over two and a half thousand people have done on a just giving page for Reker Ahmed, but the passage in Matthew goes beyond that to get involved practically. Even if we don't know any asylum seekers personally we can champion their cause, speak on their behalf. And if we do count asylum speakers as friends we can share Jesus with them in practical ways. I'll leave you with a strong challenge that might apply to welcoming asylum seekers too.

What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
— James 2