The Case For Talking To Islamophobes

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Source: Carlos Latuff

Ella Marshall pleads for humanity in a world descending into Islamophobia as a way of problem-solving.

This is no time for anger or hatred.

4th November. 3 dead in Arish, Egypt.

7th November. 15 dead in Baghdad, Iraq.

12th November. 43 dead in Beirut, Lebanon.

13th November. 19 dead in Baghdad, Iraq. 130 dead in Paris, France.

20th November. 8 dead in Yusufiyah, Iraq.

24th November. 12 dead in Tunis, Tunisia. 7 dead in al-Arish, Egypt.

In the time it takes for this article to be written, sent off and published, it is likely that ISIS will have taken even more innocent lives. If I were to have included the victims of Boko Haram, the list above would have most likely been double the length. A number of people I know are refusing to watch the news because the tragedies that have been reported in recent weeks have scared, disheartened and angered them.

This is no time for anger or hatred.

Just hours before the terrorist attack that shook Europe occurred in Paris, the UK Youth Parliament voted ‘tackling racism and religious discrimination’ as our campaign priority. Regrettably, it appears this has become even more relevant in light of the backlash that has occurred after the Paris attacks. To be scared, disheartened and even angry is a natural response but as the most destructive of human emotions we cannot allow them to avoid reason.

It is not reasonable to claim that all Muslims are terrorists.

It is not reasonable to claim that all Muslims are terrorists.

It is not reasonable to believe  that the Islamic faith is any more violent than Christianity or Judaism, they are all religions of classical theism with many parallels.

It is not reasonable to ask all Muslims to apologise for the atrocities committed by ISIS and Boko Haram.

It is not reasonable to believe The Sun

What is reasonable, however, is reaching out to those with prejudice. Talk to them with understanding and ensure they know the facts. Discrimination is, in most instances, motivated only by ignorance or a lack of knowledge combined with fear. Whilst many people complain about racial and religious discrimination, and rightfully so, we will never be able to combat it without talking to the perpetrators. Is deleting that person who shares ‘Britain First’ posts on Facebook going to make them realise the error of their ways? No. Talking to them just might. Now, I realise that most people do not have the time nor the patience to argue with xenophobes but just one response could go some way to dissuading them of their views. It might even be the case of sharing ‘Where Is The Love?’ with a few people. All I am asking is that you do your bit to tackle racism and religious discrimination. No longer is it an issue that can be cleared away with the dishes after an awkward Sunday Roast at your grandparents’ house, or with the ‘delete/unfollow’ button. There is nothing that would satisfy ISIS and Boko Haram more than for us to become a divided and insular society, it will only strengthen their propaganda about the West. We must mourn victims in unity. This cannot become an ‘us’ and ‘them’ issue.

Humanity, do not let me down.

What do you think? Should Muslims have to apologise for all terror attacks? Are we headed towards an Islamophobic society? How  Talk to us: Facebook, Twitter, anywhere else we have conversations…

If you’re a young Muslim in Bristol, you should join the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society

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