Featured image credit: PA.
There is no other way to put it: We are currently going through extremely upsetting and anxious times. Last night, a terrorist deliberately drove a van into a group of Muslims standing outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, north London. One man is dead and ten more are injured. The perpetrator, a white male, reportedly shouted ‘I’m going to kill all Muslims.’
This was an Islamophobic hate crime. Following the attacks in London and Manchester, it shows that terrorism affects all people regardless of religion of background. To know that the victims had just finished taraweeh prayers at Finsbury Park Mosque only compounds our feelings of sorrow. Ramadan, a month of blessings, generosity and remembrance of God, has once again been disrupted by an act of hate.
We don’t want to act as if nothing’s wrong. We aren’t going to fault anyone for feeling scared or angry. But at this time, we must remember that we are resilient, and resilience is strength. You need only to look at the photo above: In the moments after the attack, nearby Muslims were offering prayers on the pavement. These were their streets, near their homes, and they weren’t going to let fear change that.
Even when the perpetrator, a cowardly, hate-filled terrorist, was being wrestled to the ground by bystanders, a local imam protected him from a justifiably angry crowd until the police arrived to arrest him. It was a show of incredible humanity and peace, and a true reflection of all the values Ramadan instills.
The imam’s actions display a total refusal to let hate prevail. In that moment, few would’ve blamed the bystanders for anything they did to that man, so their willingness to heed the imam’s pleas for peace deserve the utmost admiration.
If we can all draw inspiration from this moment; and if we can continue to pray, worship in mosques and cherish all of the values Ramadan teaches; then we can look forward to better times ahead.