SPECIAL SERIES- What is it like to be a Muslim in the UK

SHAFAQNA – The following interviews were gathered by the Omega Movement, a UK-based charity which aims to denounce Islamophobia and promote interfaith relations.
Earlier this month Ukip MEP David Coburn was urged to resign for ‘Islamophobia’ after comparing Muslim SNP minister Humza Yousaf to terror preacher Abu Hamza.Ever since the Charlie Hebdo’s attack, Muslims across Europe have been demonized and vilified, burn to the pillory of fears politicians have been so keen on igniting.

So what does all that mean for the everyday lives of Muslims in this country? Well the Omega Movement went out to find out.

Fatma Al Haleely, Brighton, East Sussex

Born in Saudi Arabia, she is an IT consultant in London.

“Stop calling Muslims terrorists. Muslims are not terrorists. Islam is a religion of peace. We believe killing a person is killing humanity. It’s actually in the Quran if people actually bothered to get their facts together.

And when someone maligns Islam, I will stand up and say “You’re wrong, this is what Islam’s about.” It strengthens my conviction to continue to speak about this. If lies are being said to you by people hiding their faces, then I’m not hiding my face and I’m telling you this that this is what we do, this is what Islam is – it’s about community, peace, love and tolerance.

Radicals have nothing to do with Islam … I would actually argue that Wahhabism, which is at the base of ISIS ideology know nothing of Islam. Those people have used religion as a weapon. It says more about who they are than it does Islam. So stop hating on Muslims because at the end of the day we’re ISIS’ main target.

Not Britain or the West, us, Muslims. Thousands of us have died and millions are being hated on.”

Hassan Khan – Crawley, West Sussex

Born in Pakistan, he is a dentist at a London clinic.

“Enough already! Muslims are being collectively punished for the crimes of a radical few … Are we forgetting who funded and created those monsters in the first place? Was it not US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who a few years back admitted the CIA has created Al Qaida to defeat the Soviets? I mean we all know that Saudi Arabia has poured millions into the Middle East and Central Asia to ensure that its ideology – Wahhabism –  will rule uncontested. If Britain wants to discuss radicalism and terror then let’s have a real conversation and ask our officials why in the world they would ally themselves to the likes of Saudi Arabia?

Don’t hate on Muslims … Muslims have everything to lose to terror.

The real question is  – Who is terror benefiting?

Omar Mohammed – South Hall, London

Born in Afghanistan, he runs a coffee shop.

“I’m so tired of this whole Muslims are baaaad , Muslims are all evil and crazy narrative. One, Islam is a religion and not a nationality. So yes you can be Muslim and British at the same time without imploding …. Two Islam, like other religions, is based in tolerance, love and compassion … Like guns are not dangerous, but people are, Islam is not the problem, radicals are.

And can we please talk about those so called jihadists for one second and look at their background?! Those guys are not Islamic radicals, they’re just plain radicals. ISIS has killed more Muslims than they did anyone else … So what does it tell you? That they’re at war with Muslims …. But of course we’re never hear the media discuss the issue, that wouldn’t make nice TV would it?!

Officials throw all this hate at the public and then they wonder why hate crimes are on the rise. Can we stop the sectarian labeling already and go back to being a community of people?



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