Jul 7 2010
Some 52 innocent people were murdered, and hundreds more maimed or injured.
For weeks afterwards Londoners lived in fear, and rightly so. Two weeks later, four more bombs were detonated. Mercifully, this time none of the main explosive devices went off.
Murtaza Shibli’s fascinating book of short essays by Muslims on their response to the 7/7 atrocities helps to explain why that has not come about.
Some might argue that focusing on Muslims is a myopic and self-indulgent response to an attack where the great majority of the victims were not Muslim. But Shibli makes the powerful if controversial case that Muslims, too, were the long-term victims of the 7/7 atrocities. (CRAP)
Society turned against them. Completely innocent people (Muslims are never ‘completely’ innocent) found themselves being blamed for a crime that they had not committed (but widely condoned). Muslims were traduced, spat at and physically attacked. (Maybe, but unlike the real victims, they are here to tell about it)
Police stopped them in the street as terrorist suspects (as they should). Yaser Iqbal, a Birmingham barrister, recalls: ‘I can still vividly recall the menace and hatred in the eyes of almost every white face that stared at me on that day – and they all stared.’ The atmosphere became so tense that one contributor to this volume came close to emigrating. (But he didn’t, instead he stayed to incite anti-democracy, pro-sharia violence in the streets)
Asra Fareed, an Indian-born Muslim, quaintly describes her predicament as follows: ‘To be associated by faith with people who may be behind this unjustifiable bloodbath is most perplexing.’ So it is perhaps not that much of a surprise that some Muslims took refuge in denial. One of the essays in this volume, by a young artist called Muhammad Amin, consists of an incomprehensible farrago of conspiracy theory and fantasy, which appears to conclude that 7/7 was some elaborate media fabrication. ‘Those who have faith in the unseen are not the blind,’ cryptically observes Mr Amin, ‘for that is those who believe all they see.’
For the most part, however, this book shows that as details came through on the morning of July 7, Muslims reacted just like everyone else: with bafflement, growing horror, disbelief and anger. (Riiight)
Many record the feeling of extreme nervousness when travelling by Tube (especially if there are other muslims on board).
One Muslim woman records: ‘If a Muslim man with a beard got on the tube with a rucksack, I would find my heart beating faster and I wouldn’t be able to relax until myself or he left the train.‘ But for many Muslims, there were extra emotions: shame and humiliation. Seja Majeed, a British Iraqi law graduate, records despairingly that ‘it was only natural for me to wonder what people were thinking about my beautiful religion. (See what I mean, the religion of death is beautiful to Muslims)
‘I have never been ashamed of my religious beliefs, but I was certainly ashamed of those men who pretended to act in accordance to its divine teachings.’ (But they were not pretending, they were carrying out the teachings of the Qur’an to kill non-believers) Seja Majeed complains that while most Muslims are moderates, the British media treated fanatics like Abu Hamza as spokesmen for the entire Muslim community. (They ARE)
Many were stopped and searched as policing went out of control in the wake of the bombing. (Not out of control, smart)
Raihan Akhtar complains: ‘not only was I a potential target for a suicide bomber from my own community, I was also a potential target for security forces from my own government.’ (So why didn’t you leave?)
However, Murtaza Shibli, the book’s editor, realistically notes that the experience of being stopped and searched by the London police was a million times better than in Kashmir, where ‘many such roadside checks would end up with people disappearing and their subsequent mutilated dead bodies resurfacing on the roadside or recovered from the river, often unrecognisable.’
One religious leader, Imam Mohamed Rawat, writes: ‘no democratic country is without faults in its political system, but in my opinion, the UK gives people from all walks of life enough opportunity and freedom to express their grievances without fear.’
Well said, and this important book deserves to be read by a wide audience. It is just a pity that the cover price of £14.99 for this slim paperback mean that few will be able to afford to do so. (Only Muslims would want to read this crap) UK DAILY MAIL