Cemeteries are, as a general rule, places where people go to pay their respects to their loved ones. Places of burial and reverence. Cemeteries are not places to disrespect people you never knew based on what race or nationality you think they are.
Gravestones in a Newport cemetery in Wales have been desecrated with white paint. Presumed Islamophobics spray painted ‘’ “Lee Rigby murder”, “white power” and drew swastikas on four gravestones at Christchurch Cemetery. They also wrote the initials of the British National Party (BNP), the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and the National Front (NF).
“I think it’s absolutely disgusting,” said Mrs Thomas, 51, who lives in Christchurch. “These people are dead and gone now, what is the point? It is the ultimate disrespect. What’s next? My aunt is quite upset by the swastikas; she is German and has lived here for 60 years.”
Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing when others generalise a vast group of people based on the acts of less than 1% of their following; attacking innocents in a pathetic attempt to consolidate their bigotry. In every single religious book we are taught to respect our neighbour, to be kind to one another, to do unto others what you would like to be done unto you. Using religion or patriotism as a disingenuous excuse to commit horrendous acts is appalling.
An Islamic leader residing in Newport for over 45 years has called for fellow Muslims to not act in a violent and negative way. Mubarak Ali, secretary of the Islamic Society for Wales, has relatives buried in the Muslim area of the Christchurch Cemetery, which was targeted over the weekend. Mr Ali recognises that people are upset and outraged but should know that it is a small minority of extremists that have committed the crime.
A handful of below the line comments on both articles posted on the South Wales news website show the conflicted beliefs of readers. Many agree with Mr Ali; that we should behave in a calm manner and continue to live amongst each other in peace however some have immediately thrown Muslims in front of a racism coloured bus. Some view the anti-Semitic and Islamophobic vandalism as ‘karma’. One commenter excused it as ‘freedom of speech’; of course said commenter is wrong. Freedom of speech are all well and good unless you are targeting a person/group with hate crime.
In the same way no one should base their opinions of a Muslim person on the acts of a miniscule percentage of the Muslim population have done in what they say is in the name of religion, we must also not judge all the white people in Britain for this horrendous attack purportedly done in their name. No matter the religious concept, extreme political views should not influence views on religion and vice versa. No matter how much the world moves forward in its overdue fight for peace amongst its people, we always manage to take a million narrow minded steps back as a result of a small but senseless minority.
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Natasha Kalantar is an 18 year old Iranian Writer. Passionate about feminism, addressing inequality, mental illness, music, superheroes and shouting her opinion from every rooftop. She wants to be everything from a UN speaker for the unheard voices of gender violence in the Congo to the Minister of UK education. Aims to save the world because what’s the point of being alive if you don’t at least try to do something remarkable? Blog Write Me Into History Books You can find her on Twitter @NatashaKalantar. She helps with the @WritersofColour Twitter account and with Media Diversity UK.
- UK Muslims suffered over 1,000 Islamophobic attacks in past 18 months (theiranproject.com)
- Why would anyone believe in the “Islamophobia industry”? (newstatesman.com)