SHAFAQNA – If there’s one crumb of comfort to come out of the awful Grenfell Tower tragedy, it’s the way the community has come together.
It’s not just the locals in West London – people from all backgrounds throughout London have come to support those who have lost so much. Regardless of race, religion, class or background, that ‘London spirit’ has been truly evident.
On social media we have seen many acts of selfless generosity; people offering places to stay, travelling from East to West London in the morning to provide water and donating tonnes of clothes and food.
Alongside other institutions, religious communities have been integral to this outpouring of help. Local churches are being used as sanctuary points, while the Sikh community has been visible in providing aid and support.
And these communities have been rightly lauded on social media. Tweets mentioning ‘Christlike’ compassion or those showing Sikh’s preparing meals have been met with unanimous favourable comments:
Even the alt-right’s wet dream, Katie Hopkins, took time out from spewing hate to recognise the generosity of Sikhs. And her acolytes welcomed it – one in particular expertly praising Sikhs while simultaneously being Islamophobic.
Take your time to read the comments and you’ll see they are overwhelmingly, if not all, positive and congratulatory. But that unflinching positivity doesn’t extend to Muslims.
Pretty much every tweet that highlights the Muslim Good Samaritan is met with alt-right trolls asking: ‘why point out their religion?’
When former Labour leader Ed Milliband tweeted a positive Muslim story, ‘Harris’ said: “honest question, why highlight that some Muslims helped when in all honesty it was a collective group of people.”
‘Harris’ is all about honesty. A look at his timeline shows that, along with boxing and MMA content, he retweets the archdeacons of truth – Katie Hopkins and Tommy Robinson.
Next up, Channel 4 journalist Paul McNamara’s tweet about Muslim women handing out food was met with objections by ‘s4-blade’, who sees no need to point out the religion of the women.
And yet a look at his timeline shows he’s very happy to bring religion into topics, especially when he’s retweeting Donald Trump’s Islamophobic rants.
Paul MacNamara responded no less than three times, to three separate people, on why it was necessary to point out the women’s faith: “These are kind ladies who are fasting themselves, were hungry and wouldn’t be able to eat for hours. Yet fed others.”
Finally, ‘Rach’ doesn’t know why ‘Muslims’ are specifically mentioned in this tweet, though is happy to retweet specific mentions of Sikhs herself.
|It shows the lengths some will go to airbrush any positive sentiment towards Muslims – it’s not consistent with their toxic narrative of demonisation.|
Not everyone who made similar comments worships at the altar of the Trinity of Deplorables – Tommy Robinson, Katie Hopkins and Donald Trump. ‘Mogstripe’ doesn’t seem like the ordinary right-wing loon, but objected to Muslims being name checked.
This negative attitude towards Muslims has created a culture where even people with no alt-right tendencies can find the praise of Muslims slightly jarring. Yet, as the examples above show, not one person has shown discomfort with the mention of Sikhs and Christians.
Highlighting good work by people from different faiths (and no faith) is something we should encourage.
The right-wing narrative tells us that multiculturalism is wrong. But pointing out the collaboration of people from different backgrounds shows the best of multiculturalism – and, crucially, how it can foster integration.
We’re always keen to point out the differences when something bad happens. Let’s celebrate those differences when it actually brings people together.