terrorism

Elliot's Weekly Roundup: Have You Voted Yet?

image: flickr Radarsmum

It probably hasn't passed you by, but today is election day! Have you cast your vote yet? Which one of the 40,000 polling stations did you visit? Was it in in a school, launderette or someone's kitchen? Did you put a tick, cross, or smiley face in the box? Before being caught up in the election frenzy of which results will be declared first, graphics, graphs and swingometers, let's stop and reflect back on the last few days that have run up to this election.

Before the memorial concert was held for victims from the Manchester atrocity, London was attacked leaving eight dead and dozens injured. As more becomes known about the events more questions are being asked. Who knew what and why was it not acted upon? Party political leaders are blaming each other for reducing police numbers now that campaigning has resumed.  Debate about security and Islam have dominated the days before today's election. The phrase, "Enough is enough" has been seen and heard this week.

One violent response seen in the media was to wave around a machete, threaten to blow up mosques and kill Muslims. In the video that was posted the man also appeared to have a hand grenade attached to his shirt. Since uploading the video onto the internet he has claimed it was a joke, his drink was spiked and has now issued an apology.  Another response has been to ignore the memory of those who died in the attack by ignoring the minute's silence held at a world cup qualifier.

Another response seen in the media has been to challenge the Muslim response to terror attacks. Not just to condemn the terrorism but the ideology behind it.

What we need to hear from British Muslims is that they reject the vision from which terrorism comes. It is a vision of society unified by one political and religious ideology. It is a vision of pluralism, and secular politics, swept aside by this vision. It is a theocratic vision.
— https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2017/06/not-enough-muslims-say-condemn-terrorism/

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has stated there is a lack of religious literacy by some who are dealing with terrorist threats. He continued by saying:

“If we attack or persecute or go against a particular group of people on the grounds of their faith alone, rather than what they want to do or the arguments they are putting forward of violence and terror, the terrorists will give three cheers and say thank you, you’ve done our work for us. Every time a Muslim is abused on a bus or a mosque is attacked, the terrorists have taken another step forward.”
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p054zbz7

At a vigil at Bradford Cathedral Bishop Toby Howarth stated that we don't choose how we feel but we can choose how we respond. At least one person chose to reach out to the Muslim community in London by chalking "London loves you,"  on the pavement outside a mosque.

Muslim taxi drivers have been praised for their role in helping victims immediately after the attack. Muslim communities have united in disgust against the attacks, have made signs to show their support and have left flowers at the scene. One hundred and thirty imams have refused to say funeral prayers for the perpetrators of the attack and called upon others to follow their example.

“Consequently, and in light of other such ethical principles which are quintessential to Islam, we will not perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer over the perpetrators and we also urge fellow imams and religious authorities to withdraw such a privilege.
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/london-bridge-terrorists-imams-refuse-funeral-prayer-khuram-shazad-butt-rachid-redouane-a7774291.html

Another article suggests the number of imams refusing to perform the traditional funeral prayers is much higher at around 500. Traditional funeral prayers called janaza  are often open for anyone to join. The more people who attend the more beneficial it is to the deceased according to the Islamic scholar and psychiatrist Dr Asim Yusuf. Anti extremist campaigner Ahmed Patel thinks that denying funeral prayers sends out out a very strong message to terrorists and could stop people from carrying out attacks.  

“I think the fact that they are saying we will not bury you, we will not even do your janaza, is a lot more powerful than going out with placards or holding vigils.
”It’s a very, very powerful message that no Muslim will bury him, no Muslim will wash his body, no Muslim will stand over him in prayer.”
— http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40175088

Another response that has appeared in the media has been written by an accident and emergency consultant who works at The Royal London Hospital.  In a post that has been shared over 4000 times in recent days he states:

“When you think of the word Muslim I want you to think of the Muslim nurse that ran our casualty triage area, the Muslim surgeon who operated all night, the Muslim technician that helped arrange transport home for discharged casualties, the Muslim security officer that ran out relatives reception area, the Imams from our Muslim chaplaincy that stayed all night to help comfort the casualties and so many more.”
— http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/london-attack-muslims-islam-doctor-think-surgeons-not-terrorist-response-victims-treatment-karim-a7773971.html

In the light of all that has happened this week- vote wisely. If you are yet to decide on where to place your X, maybe consulting this manifesto comparison chart published by The Muslim Council of Britain will help.

However we vote, let's put greater faith in the Jesus who didn't travel on a campaign bus, publish a political manifesto or get elected.  Let's continue to pray for our nation, friends and colleagues, and share Jesus with those we encounter. 

Is Islam taking over the country?

Image: Neil Moralee,  Flickr

Image: Neil Moralee, Flickr

Is Islam taking over the country?

North of Birmingham, one of the most diverse cities in the UK, are small towns and places where very few Muslims live.

Two of us had the privilege of spending a great evening with about 50 people wanting to hear about relating to our Muslim neighbours.

They were a really friendly bunch, with great hospitality, and good humour flowed.

However, as they themselves admit, the type of some of the questions that play out in their area are:

  • Is Islam taking over the country?
     
  • What about Al Qaeda? Terrorism?
     
  • What does the future hold?

The lack of opportunity to engage with Muslim neighbours, and seeing large Muslim communities that seem to be a block of people that are hard to get to know, are two key elements in this.

In this setting, facts like the percentage of Muslims in the country and the Muslim responses against terrorism are important, but not all that’s needed.

To go further we need to point to opportunities for actually getting to know Muslim neighbours. 

Or, where that is not practical, to show positivity about our own relationships.

One of Mahabba’s sayings is 'face the facts, don't fuel the fear'.

We need to feed that back to those people in areas of the church who don’t have opportunity to get to know Muslims and help set the tone of love and grace.

 

YOUR TURN

Do you want to find out more about Islam and Muslims? Request someone from Mahabba to come and speak at your church.

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