In the wake of the attacks in France, a Muslim man took to the streets of Paris. On the floor lay two simple signs. The first read “I’m Muslim, but I’m told that I’m a terrorist”, the second, “I trust you, do you trust me? If yes, hug me”. The blindfolded man then stood still, with his arms open to passing Parisians. The response is overwhelming:
Blaming the world’s 1.6bn Muslims for the atrocities committed by an extremist fringe group is of course not the way forward, nor is it remotely fair. None of us in the West would like to have to take responsibility for the words of Donald Trump, cartoons in the Daily Mail, or Iain Duncan Smith.
Yet, Islamophobia has risen sharply since the attacks on 13 November. Another video of a Quebecois man in a joker mask, threatening to kill “one Arab a week” isn’t quite as heart warming as the experiences of the man in the blindfold. Here in the United Kingdom, a petition to close our borders to keep the country from somehow ‘becoming a Muslim country’ has over 200,000 signatures. In Toronto, on Monday, a Muslim woman was robbed and beaten by two men who called her a “terrorist”.
Four Muslim passengers were just removed from an American plane bound for Chicago for ‘suspicious activity’. What was this activity? One man was watching a news video on his phone, which someone mistook for some form of video made by Islamic State. Another woman had to rush to the bathroom with her child, while the plane was taxiing. Crystal clear racial profiling, these people were ejected from the plane for ‘riding Muslim’.
Regrettably, responding in this paranoid, hostile fashion is playing right into the hands of ISIS. They want to further the divide between Muslims and the West, to rally more disillusioned Muslims to their side. Hussein Hamdan, lawyer and part of North American Spiritual Revival (NASR), a non-profit with the aim of de-radicalising Muslim youth, explains:
The recruitment tools that ISIS and Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations use is they say to the young Muslim, ‘Don’t you get it? The West hates you. They’re at war with your religion, they’ll never accept you … Come here, you belong here, join us we are your brothers
Read on...Support us and go ad-free
Fortunately, the blindfolded man on the streets of Paris is not the only example of people responding to the trauma of the last few days with compassion; another is Dr. Susan Carland – a Muslim woman. For every hate-tweet she receives, she donates $1 to UNICEF. Her donations have nearly reached $1,000, and while it is saddening that the hate-tweets are evidently mounting rapidly, it is equally brightening that someone has found a way of literally converting hate to love.
This is the kind of response we need more of if we are to bring about peace.
Featured image via YouTube screenshot.
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?