Elliot's Roundup: Hatred, heroism, hunger, heatwave...

image: flickr Moose

image: flickr Moose

The attack on Finsbury Park Mosque, the imam who has been hailed as a hero, fasting during a heatwave and more. 

Monday saw a 47 year old father of four from Cardiff drive into a crowd of Muslims outside a London Mosque in a rented van. One person died and eleven were injured. The man who had interest in far right groups had recently voiced hatred for Muslims. 

“This was quite clearly an attack on Muslims who looked like they were probably Muslims and they were coming from a prayer meeting,” said the Met police commissioner, Cressida Dick. “We treat this as a terrorist attack and we in the Met are as shocked as anybody in this local community or across the country at what has happened.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/19/finsbury-park-attack-suspect-named-as-cardiff-resident-darren-osborne

As the van driver was wrestled to the ground, the imam intervened to calm the situation.  

“The imam came from the mosque and he said, ‘Listen, we are fasting, this is Ramadan, we are not supposed to do these kinds of things, so please step back.’
“For that reason this guy is still alive today. This is the only reason. If the imam was not there, he wouldn’t be there today.”
— https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/19/imam-praised-for-protecting-finsbury-park-suspect-from-crowd

The imam has been widely praised for his actions  and recently visited by Prince Charles who was 'deeply impressed' by the imam's actions.  

Terrorist actions dominate the news. But daily life for many Muslims continues to be a struggle do to fasting for long hours in a heatwave. If fasting wasn't challenging enough, think of the estimated 148 million diabetic Muslims worldwide, according to the article, half of British diabetic Muslims fast.  Guidelines for managing diabetes during Ramadan are available, other Muslim diabetics have come to the conclusion that Ramadan is about fasting from the fast.  

Muslim women are also in the news this week. One article highlights the tradition of women only mosques in China. 

While Muslim women face restrictions in most mosques around the world, either being segregated by sex within the building or in some communities being banned from entering altogether, many Chinese Muslim women pray at institutions dedicated to serving their gender, a unique Chinese tradition.
— https://sputniknews.com/asia/201706221054863942-beijing-islam-female-only-mosque/

According to the article women only mosques have come about through merging of the Chinese and Islamic traditions. The idea has come about through  receiving the first Muslims in China as honoured guests and having a national culture of not barring women from public life.

Muslim women sporting pioneers have also been in the news. Dana Abdulkarim was teh first hijabi athlete to represent England- then teh first hijabi P.E. teacher.  Salma Bi was teh first Muslim woman to play cricket for Worcestershire, Anisa Ansar plays cricket for both Hampshire and England.

We have different tastes and preferences on how we live our lives and navigate our careers. Some of us wear hijabs, some don’t. Some have families who are supportive, some who aren’t and others that take a little more convincing.
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/get-inspired/40353279

Heroes, the hungry, Chinese, diabetic and athletic, it is clear there is no Muslim only many individual Muslims with their own interests, families and stories.

Could you be hospitable, share your interests and introduce them to your Father?

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!