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Editorial

June 20, 2017

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A terror attack

A terror attack

It has always been clear that there is a symbiotic relationship between racist, right-wing extremism and the extremism of those who claim to act in the name of Islam. Both feed off each other, nurture each other and need each other to gain strength. In the years since 9/11 there has been an alarming rise in Islamophobia around the West which has largely been ignored. From the rise of the extreme right in the form of Donald Trump, Ukip and Marie Le Pen to routine discrimination against Muslims–– who have been spied on, had their headscarves banned and treated as third-class citizens – Islamophobia has been normalised by an uncaring media and political class. It is inevitable that the hatred that has been rumbling will lead to terrorist attacks against Muslims, as it did     on Sunday     when one person was killed and at least 10 injured at a Muslim community centre near Finsbury Park Mosque in London. Similar to the attacks carried out by individuals inspired by Isis, the attacker – described by the police as a 48-year-old man – used his vehicle and meant to inflict maximum casualties. The attack took place soon after worshippers had finished praying and the attacker was heard spewing anti-Muslim invective. The man is now in custody and Prime Minister Theresa May has said the attack will be investigated as a potential terrorist attack.

As with the recent attacks in Britain carried out by Muslims pledging allegiance to Isis, this attack appears to be the work of an individual. But the difference in the general reaction is startling to behold. Every attack by a Muslim is followed by orders for all Muslims to condemn and root out extremism, as if by virtue of being born into the same religion we will have Isis on speed dial. Prime Minister May herself called for censoring the internet and for the Muslim community to police itself after the London Bridge attack earlier this month. There was no similar message for the white population in Britain to disavow the likes of Ukip and the English Defence League or for the media to reconsider its sensationalist demonisation of Muslims. Every practising Muslim is automatically viewed with suspicion even though the Finsbury Park Mosque attack showed they possess the same everyday heroism that has been on display after all such attacks. The imam of the mosque personally guarded the attacker and ensured no one took their justifiable anger out on him till he was handed over to the police. This imam belonged to the mosque that had previously been accused of being a hotbed of violent extremism. But then if there is one thing we have learned from these attacks it is that all Muslims are lumped together as extremists unless proven otherwise while white attackers are treated as aberrations.

 

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