On Sunday, I happened to bump into an old Muslim friend. None of the things I am about to talk about came up in our conversation. Instead we talked about family, what we are up to, plans for the future, cricket etc. It seemed to me here is one Muslim (and there are many like him who I know) I am glad to have as a neighbor.
On Sunday, there was a march by the EDL, to do with their concerns over recent Islamic Terrorist attacks and too little being done to address the problem. When I did my customary Google search, this time on the term “EDL march Manchester”, I didn’t have to dig deeper to find out that those reporting, appearing on the first page, were critical of the EDL. Just as biased maybe, is this corrective video from the EDL, accompanied by the following blurb: “Following three unprecedented terror attacks on the UK in just 72 days, Tommy Robinson, the Rebel and a host of others from different organisations, communities and backgrounds are standing up to say ‘no more’. On Sunday the 11th June 2017, thousands of people stood peacefully in Manchester, the site of an unprecedented suicide bombing aimed at children, to rally under the banner ‘UK Against Hate’“. Going to Tommy Robinson (EDL founder) Facebook page, I saw, unsurprisingly, a similar such take on events and was struck by one of Tommy’s shared quotes.
I am not sure if Churchill did say it but what matters is it true, and my take is: it may be. I was almost mortified after I shared a Tommy Robinson rant on my Facebook page, following the Westminster Bridge terror attack. In it he bemoaned the fact that the root causes of the attack were not being addressed and instead we were being exposed to pious platitudes by the elite and expressions of love and tolerance and Islam is a religion of peace rhetoric, which ultimately does little to address the need of the hour. Tommy argues we are going to see more of the same if we don’t act – and so we have. I was taken to task by some, who I normally respect, for being Fascist, in posting and it got me wondering who the real Fascists are? Listening to the other side (those who take part in protests of a similar nature) and the reports of those who openly voice opinions not so dissimilar to Tommy’s, only reinforces such sentiments. Following when I wrote my “Islamic terrorism – call it for what it is” blog I have seen too little response by powers that be to my what makes me angry points. Until there is, I suspect we will see more protests on the lines of what we saw Sunday, with an even worse backlash as well as more Islamic terrorist incidents. Over-stretched Police have too much on their hands for peace loving folks to rather none of this happens, yet to ignore the present reality is a recipe for disaster.
I am no apologist for Tommy Robinson, any more I am for any other public figure. I do believe, however, he makes many valid points, often ignored because he is vilified by mainstream media. For example, check out his speech to the Oxford Union, which I urge any who want to argue with me on the matter or have a pop at Tommy to listen to first. On the negative side, I particularly dislike his tone. While I get it he feels the need to unambiguously put forward his strongly held views, the way he goes about it more likely stirs up strife than brings about peace. There seems no doubt that anti terrorist protests and counter protests, on top of the recent General Election outcome and other events, have revealed a fractured society that needs to be healed. What we need now are peacemakers, who don’t fudge the issues yet, motivated by love, seek to bring about just solutions based on truth and righteousness. In the meantime, I will in my community activism try to play my part in bringing all the community together, including defending my Muslim friend’s right to be here and to pay homage to his contribution to British society.