All radio phone-ins after something ISIS-related:
Caller 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5: “Why aren’t Muslims calling in and condemning ISIS?”
Me: “Give us a chance, the producer said I’m in a long queue behind callers all demanding to know why no Muslims are condemning ISIS.”
So let me as a Muslim pre-emptively strike to stop this repetitive cycle from happening post Leytonstone.
As the self appointed Muslim Community Leader of Leytonstone, let me begin by saying #YouAintNoMuslimBruv, not in my name or in the name of the vast majority of 1.6 billion Muslims living across the world.
Furthermore in my capacity as the Muslim representative of Leytonstone, I implore the British public and the international community to not let the actions of one person with a knife deter you from booking your holiday in Leytonstone, it is still a great holiday destination for families on a budget.
I have conducted a group Skype call in the name of the British Muslim community “doing something”. This involved all the local Shisha bars and Mosques. I am pleased to confirm the following counter measures to the inevitable calls of “What are Muslims doing about the actions of one violent man in Leytonstone?” dog whistle of the Right:
- Moderate Muslims in East London will start patrolling the streets in large numbers on the lookout for other Muslims thinking about acts of terror. I believe nothing instils confidence in the general public like a group of Muslims taking the law into their own hands in parts of the UK.
- I have organised an interfaith vigil outside the 24hr McDonalds in Leytonstone. Muslims please attend or you support ISIS.
- I’ve given an angry interview on BBC News, blaming Mosques and silent non-violent Muslims for unknowingly harbouring terrorists in their midst, even though the story is a day old and we don’t have any conclusive proof of motives outside of one quote.
- I have told all the Muslim Dons in Leytonstone that David Cameron has declared War on Terror. So you can snitch without losing street cred.
To the Patriots I would say this: please don’t target the fried chicken spots I know and love from my youth with arson attacks in the name of St George and Democracy. Fried chicken has no religion; just some seasoning.
Let us BBQ sauce our wings in solidarity against the vegans and terrorists instead.
To the weed smokers I would say don’t be paranoid: terror has won if fear makes you travel an extra half an hour to South London to buy your weed. Stand with the Leytonstone economy against ISIS.
Moreover I would say this to the wider public. It would be unfair to tarnish this part of East London with an image of Stabby Islamism. The facts simply do not support this assertion. I’m proud to say my borough only suffers from the mundane variety of stabbings associated with gangs, postcode poverty, cuts in youth mental health services and lack of police trust that blight ALL poor boroughs in London. I hope this calms any fears one has about Leytonstone being a hotbed of ISIS inspired Stabbyism.
So what to convey to those who say this is more terrifying than your average stabbing because the stabber mentioned “Syria” and the random nature of his attack?
Well I would say “Shut your mouth Bruv” and let me explain why. Yes, there is a random act of violence element in this train station attack by the assailant. But for people travelling on public transport in London this is a sad reality (although relatively small).
Plus, let us be honest, statistically you’re more likely to be pushed under a train and attacked going about your daily business on public transport if you are a visibly Muslim woman, wearing a Niqab or Hijab.
Who pushes this ratcheting up of fear and outright hostility to a minority group?
Well as the #MuslimApartment hashtag shows: journalists and the media in general report breaking stories that have a Muslim perpetrator in a sensationalist manner with little room for nuance. Having a Muslim sounding name can instantly elevate a sad fact of London life (stabbing – there have been 9,841 knife offences in London in the year ending June 2015) to an international news story. I am not advocating journalists don’t report at all but exercise restraint and caution and stick to facts, you know all the journalistic ethics you apply when the killer is white and not Muslim.
Because no one wants a repeat of the worst excesses of the type of journalism witnessed on Friday when CNN and MSNBC reporters rifled through the apartment of San Bernardino killers like some surreal Islamist-MTV Cribs hybrid.
Let me end on a positive and elucidate on #YouAintNoMuslimBruv. It has been trending since the attack in Leytonstone station and is testament that the vast majority of British public even when fed on a constant media diet of “scary Muslims” will still instinctively come together without a demand for phoney apologies and condemnation, because they know we are all truly in this together. This coming together on the #YouAintNoMuslimBruv hashtag one imagines is much to the chagrin of Islamophobes and Daesh fanboys alike.
#YouAintNoMuslimBruv has become a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Twitter drag of all those who would divide us. After all what is more of a British Values than the stiff upper lip and carry on gallows humour illustrated in #YouAintNoMuslimBruv?
This truly makes me proud to be a British-Muslim.
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Raf is a Single Vegetarian Muslim who does current affairs with jokes. Follow him on Twitter @1Rafz
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