With both the Darul Uloom Boarding school and Al-Rahma Islamic Centre being set on fire in the last week with alleged “EDL” graffiti left behind you have to wonder where we are heading in the UK. Is this the start of a new battle between the extreme right and those with a skewed view of the Islamic faith or are we just experiencing a blip following a one off attack in Woolwich?
I have no sympathy or understanding for the actions of those who set these fires you have to wonder about their comprehension of the situation. Similarly the rants and actions of the two men who killed Lee Rigby hold no sway in public opinion. The problem is that these fringe opinions and groups and part of the mainstream now because of the actions they are taking which alerts and awakens the idiotic and ignorant in both camps. We are faced with those who misrepresent the Qur’an on one hand and those who are under the delusion that the majority of those who have a specific religion are terrorists. And then we hit the cycle of violence that the world has watched for generations as each party steps up to show their strength of argument through violence and death.
The absurdity of setting fire to a school and a community centre as well as the marches on Mosques is missing the point completely – when do these children become part of the “fight” for these right wing groups? Why damage and hurt a generation that has no reason to be anything but decent human beings living and working in the UK? The cowardice alone of this type of action shows the mentality of those who carried it out. You know what folks why don’t you put your body where your mouth is and go to the heart of the problem and head off to all these extremist training camps and stop the problem at its core rather than attacking British citizens in their own country?
The EDL’s website talks about their belief that they are only against the extremist elements of the Islamic community – but then we all are. Unfortunately whether they mean to or not they attract those with a much more malevolent view of Muslims and are carrying out acts or vandalism and arson in their name. If they are against the extremes of Islam then surely they are against the extremes in all groups that act in this way. It would be an idea to say this publicly to avoid any confusion.
There are real discussions to be had across the communities in London but these types of pointless acts of vandalism and endangering the life of children is unacceptable regardless of religion, colour or politics. We are better than that and unless the authorities and politicians roll up their sleeves and get stuck into this problem in a loud and public way I fear we are at the start of a battle that no-one will walk away from unharmed.
For me the York Mosque’s reaction to the EDL march the other week is the best example of the kind of approach that is needed. There is a fantastic piece from the Guardian by Mohamed El-Gomati here – http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/31/edl-english-defence-league-york-mosque that shows that discussion is the only way to begin to help the situation. I really hope I’m wrong and that this is just a blip, but there is unrest on both sides and it only takes one action to set off the opposite side.