Like everyone else, my heart broke yesterday reading the news about the explosion that happened outside Ariana Grande’s concert which claimed 22 lives and left 59 people injured. This was a cowardly act by a lone wolf and we mourn the loss of these young people and pray for their families. I have also been so moved by the actions of the people of Manchester who have gone out in droves to donate blood, offered their money and homes to help the people affected by this tragic incident.
Normally I don’t engage with the likes of Piers Morgan and Katie Hopkins, but after stumbling onto Morgan’s article on social media, I was at an utter dismay as to how this was considered to be an appropriate response in the aftermath of the tragedy. Hence this post addressing the main conclusion of his article. Below is an extract:
But I’m sorry, there must be more Muslims can do as a community to spot these killers in their midst before they commit carnage.
In fact, I’m not sorry.
Frankly, I’m sick and tired of everyone treading on politically correct eggshells when it comes to this issue.
The assumption that Muslims are silent about extremist threats is dangerous for our entire community. Speaking at a news conference last year, Former FBI director James Comey said Muslims “do not want people committing violence, either in their community or in the name of their faith, and so some of our most productive relationships are with people who see things and tell us things who happen to be Muslim.” Quite frankly it’s surprising that this has to be reiterated.
In his article, Piers Morgan is clearly oblivious to the government mandated counter-terrorism strategy called Prevent which is in full effect in our community. This means that schools, colleges and universities are legally obliged to monitor and report on students who may be at risk of ‘violent extremism’. Despite the fact that a host of civil liberty organisations, MPs and teachers have called for the abandonment of Prevent, deeming it counterproductive, some Muslim leaders continue to comply with Prevent precisely because of people like Piers Morgan who argue that Muslims are not doing enough to root out extremism.
In addition, Morgan’s article is quite frankly an insult against Imams in our community including Omar Suleiman, Imam Suhaib Webb and other British Imams who cannot be publicly named because of the severity of the threat that ISIS has issued against them. These Imams are considered ‘obligatory targets’, that should be ‘made examples of’ because they vehemently preach against extremist ideology. To assume that the community is not doing enough, therefore, is reckless.
I am yet to see Piers Morgan write an article calling for the police community to do more to root out bad cops every time a black person is murdered in cold blood.
Where was Piers Morgan to ask white people to root out extremists when Anders Breivik murdered 77 people.
Or when Dylan Roof walked into a black church and claimed the lives of nine people who unknowingly welcomed him to their midst?
Using the logic laid out in Morgan’s article, the communities that the perpetrators belong to should have been able to identify the perpetrators beforehand and report them before they committed acts of atrocities.
Whilst this is not the time to play tit for tat with the lives of innocent people, it’s extremely important to highlight the danger of the notion that the Muslim community is somehow more equipped in spotting potential terrorists than any other community.
And even worse, not only do articles such as these dehumanise us, it implies that the community is silent and thus complicit in acts of grotesque violence. This is the kind of rhetoric that fuels hate crimes against Muslims (Islamophobia), particularly identifiable Muslims like myself and it’s dangerous. In an abhorrent tweet, Katie Hopkins called for a final solution against Muslims employing a term used by Nazis during the Holocaust.
Morgan’s article ignores the reality for a vast majority of Muslims who will the suffer consequences for statements such as his. His rhetoric erases our pain, as human beings, as Muslims for our fellow brothers and sisters. His statement sidelines the fact that this is not the kind of world that we envision for ourselves and fellow human beings. Morgan is clearly oblivious to the reality of young Muslim women like me who feel like we’re walking targets because we’re held accountable for actions that we are not responsible for. Ignorant to the trauma of constantly replaying a video of a sister being pushed onto a train platform for no other reason than this. Or reading about a pregnant Muslim woman being kicked in the stomach. Or a close friend having to leave work early yesterday because her colleagues spoke to her as if she was one of ‘them.’ We feel the heartbreak and the loss. We too were in pain, and angry as we woke up to another day of senseless violence.
So, Dear Piers Morgan, your article was irresponsible and No, this is not the time for your dangerous rhetoric.
In the words of an amazing man,
“We can react in a lot of ways. We can react in anger or we can react by doing.”
Again, my thoughts and prayers are with people who have lost their loved ones and if you can, please do donate to social chain’s fundraising efforts or Muslims for Manchester to support the funeral expenses and personal costs of people affected by the tragic events at Manchester. Thank you for reading.