No words can describe the horror and despair we have experienced
as we watched the events unfold in Paris on Friday.
People pay respect to the victims in front of the Carillon Restaurant in Paris where terrorists attacked on Friday. Picture: Frank Augstein/PA Wire
Over a hundred innocent people were killed and many were injured and are still
suffering greatly. How could humans stoop so low as to target innocent people going
about their everyday lives with their family and friends, we thought.
As Muslims, and as human beings, we condemn these malicious acts of barbarity
At this devastating time, it is important for us to come together in prayer and
unity, pay tribute to the victims and their families in Paris, and keep in our hearts
and minds all those who are suffering at the hands of terrorism throughout the world.
As Muslims, there is added tragedy to this event. These killings were carried
out in the name of our religion, and will only increase the scrutiny which is directed
at Islam and Muslims by the media and certain sections of the general population.
My wife, a convert to Islam, a social worker in my family and my children went
to work and school this morning. They are disgusted at the actions of the murderers,
but at the same time fearful of being targeted as other Muslims have been.
The social worker in my family travelled on public transport; fortunately, there
were no mishaps. And what about the reaction of her co-workers?
When she arrived at work, what she found almost reduced her to tears. It was
a box of chocolates, and her police colleagues had placed it there. What a beautiful
and generous gesture.
I am sure many Londoners will express the same acceptance and consideration towards
fellow Muslim citizens. But there are also those, a minority, who will use this
event as an opportunity to sow discord and division in our society.
I urge my fellow Londoners to resist this. Actions of disunity and disharmony
will only lead us to play into the hands of the terrorists. This is exactly the
sort of reaction they want to provoke.
They have attacked innocent people only to spread fear and suspicion, and to
terrify us into knee-jerk responses.
The tragedies that Londoners have faced in the past, such as the London 7/7 bombings,
have demonstrated that this great city is more powerful than any tragedy that can
befall it and will remain united, cohesive and strong.
As for those in my community, who have been exposed to corrupt interpretations
or teachings of the peaceful religion of Islam and have been influenced to support
any act of violence in the name of religion: do not be fooled by those who have
hijacked the true teachings of Islam.
These people do not belong to any religion; they are nothing but cold-blooded
murderers. They are not Muslims, and their actions are only that of blood thirsty
Think critically and think for yourselves. Islam teaches us that true believers
are those from whom their neighbours feel safe.