The calls for Muslims to speak out against terrorism sound like a broken record (and a bad one at that)! The reality is, Muslims have come out in throngs and made their voice heard when global events have shaken up the world. They have stood up time and time again against acts of terror and violence. It’s time to understand that Muslims are part and parcel of the societies they live in – and care just as much as anyone else.
Here are five inspiring moments when Muslim stood up for Islam in recent times:
1. When French Muslims condemned the Paris attacks
In the wake of the Paris attacks on Friday 13th November 2015, French Muslims came out to take part in vigils across the capital. What’s more, a series of videos of Pakistani Muslims denouncing the attacks went viral. It begins by saying “we’d like you to know that we’re just a shocked and horrified as everyone else around the world.” The hashtag “nous sommes unis” which means “we are united” in French also started trending on Twitter.
2. When Muslims protected churches in Europe and the Middle East
Also in France, Muslim men formed a protective line outside a church in Lens (Pas-de-Calais), northern France, to guard Christian worshippers while they attended midnight mass at Christmas. Similar stances have been taken across Europe and the Middle East, including in Egypt when Muslims joined hands with Christian protesters for mass in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Last December in Iraq, fireworks lit up the Tigris River for several nights and a 25-metre Christmas tree was set up in Zawraa Public Park. At the Protestant Anglican National Church in Baghdad, built in 1958, a young Muslim woman came to see her friend sing in the choir. She said:
“Daesh has failed, it attempted to divert the Iraqis, especially those with faith, it aimed to turn us against one another, but it failed, we’ve only become stronger.”
3. When the #NotInMyName hashtag went mental (in a good way!)
Groups like ISIS have used social media to spread their message and many fear they are winning the online battle. But young people and activists made their response perfectly known by uploading images to social media with the #NotInMyName hashtag.
4. When local Muslim hotel staff in Tunisia formed a human shield
In the summer of 2015, Seifeddine Rezgui murdered 38 people in Tunisia and ISIS claimed responsibility. The Tunisian staff formed a human shield to protest the tourists and witness accounts confirmed their bravery. They put their own lives in danger to protect the guests.
5. Local people in Burkina Faso call for the release of Australian couple
Hundreds of African students rallied for Dr Ken Elliot and his wife Jocelyn after his abduction in Burkina Faso just a few days ago. Burkina Faso is a Muslim majority country. A Facebook page called Djibo soutient Dr Ken Elliott (Djibo supports Dr Ken Elliot) has also attracted numerous comments expressing hope for the couple’s release.
Dr Ken Elliott built the first and only hospital in Djibo and was the sole surgeon at the clinic. Formerly from Perth, the elderly couple were abducted by a suspected extremist political group.
The Elliott family said they were grateful for the messages of support received, stating: “The Elliotts have been particularly heartened by the tremendous support of the Burkinabe people who clearly consider Ken and Jocelyn to be one of their own after all these years of providing surgical services to the region.”