Friday 24 March 2017

Reflections on the The Westminster Attack

I have been mulling over the awful attack this week outside Parliament and on Westminster Bridge. I can't imagine the pain of those who have lost family members and the terror of those that were injured. My thoughts are with those who have lost their loved ones and who have been hurt: I pray that they find the strength to bear what they have been tested with and find some measure of peace in time.

My baby sister has put it better than me:

"...the horrible attacks on people in London has led to an emotional couple of days – anger, worry, heartbreak and fear. I really hate that as soon as something like this happens, so many of my friends, family and I all brace for the inevitable backlash against Muslims, the same fear that we will be grouped with this tragic violence and that we are tarred with the same brush that puts us with something that we don’t believe in.

So this is me, saying this is not my faith. We have said this before and we’ll say it again. Islam doesn’t work like this and we don’t believe or condone any form of terror attacks like this. We are with London, and will remain strong, united and unafraid. London is our home. This is the city where I have had the honour to meet the most diverse and vibrant people from all walks of life and communities, and have found that unity is always better despite coming from different backgrounds."

I have written before along similar lines, about how this is not my faith:

"I can’t explain why they do the cruel things they do and really why would I be able to? This is not the faith I was raised in and embraced. The Muslim people I know don’t think or behave like this.

So before the calls of “Muslims need to speak up” and “Muslims need to get their house in order” – start up as they always do (cause over one billion Muslims are a homogenous group that can be controlled and organised in a tidy manner), I’d like to be clear that the bombings, the civilians deaths, the murder of children, the intolerance of other faiths, the forced veiling of women: this is not my faith. This is not my Islam.

My Islam demands that we speak up when we see something wrong, we try to put it right, we defend our homes and our families and those weaker than us, we seek justice but favour mercy. My faith offers intelligent and peaceful ways to do this. My Islam condemns the slaughter of children and civilians, it orders against the destruction of land, crops and building even in times of war and it encourages us to seek peaceful means of resolving a matter if there is an alternative to conflict."

I will leave it at that, when such horrible events come to my doorstep, the last thing I feel the need to do is justify or explain anything.  It's my city, I am just as angry as anyone about the loss of life, people who have been hurt, the poor tourists who were our guests here and the general disruption.

I note that all of the usual anti-immigration, anti-Muslim and racist trolls have come out to say how London is overrun with Muslims and immigrants and what else could we expect. Of course I disagree, I have written before about how much I love this city:

"It’s a city with such great strength of spirit. The 7/7 attacks happened in London on a Thursday and the city was back on its feet and back to work on the same tube system on Monday. No whinging, no shutting the place down, two-finger salute to the perpetrators and back to business. The Blitz Spirit was alive and well and I felt so proud that Monday.

The city of my childhood; walking down to Green Street Market with my mum where the traders wouldn’t let you touch and the West Ham Football Club supporters marching by in their Doc Martins and bald heads in the 80’s. Going to Oxford Circus nine to a car to see the Christmas lights, getting your pictures taken by the lions in Trafalgar Square, seeing Ginger the mummified man in the British Museum and getting into Tower of London free as under-fives because we were such midgets (we were 8, 7 and 5)"

My family live and work across the city, including very close to where the incident happened, I have a cousin that works in parliament, my lovely sister-in-law works five minutes away and was told to stay in her office at the time.  They will all be back at work on Monday and the city will carry on regardless.

View across central London, photo courtesy of Shutterbug Sister who is forever in the City taking pictures.

No comments:

Post a Comment