Celebrate Eid by rejecting Islamophobia

The campaigning group: 'One Society Many Cultures' has issued the following appeal:

Today millions of Muslims in every part of the world will celebrate the festival of Eid marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan. While many non-Muslims will join with their Muslim friends and neighbours in celebrating this joyful festival, some are seeking to whip up Islamophobia and hatred.

Most sharply this has focused on a campaign by a fundamentalist Christian church in the USA to publicly burn copies of the Qur’an. This hate-mongering campaign has been given world-wide publicity on the internet and by the media.

While the 'book burning' has been condemned by the United Nations, US government and key leaders in Europe, the media continues to publicise it and pose the issue as one of 'freedom of speech'.

The media debate has focused on whether or not this small group has the 'right' to burn the Qur’an, and presenting the outrage among Muslims as a potential attack on freedoms and rights, or as a choice between 'fundamentalism' of either side.

The issue is not whether these people have the right to take this action - there is no law that stops them - but whether it is right. Their proposed action should be condemned by every thinking person who defends our liberal open society. Whipping up hatred against those of a particular faith is outside the values of a civilised society.

Farooq Murad, The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: "The Qur’an is sacred to more than one fifth  of the world’s population and all Muslims treat it with the utmost respect. This proposed burning would be highly offensive. We call on those planning this malicious and mischievous act to refrain from deliberate provocation and allow common sense to prevail.

Those looking to burn the Holy Quran should take a few moments out of their busy lives to actually read the book. More Muslims revere and abide by the peace and solace that this book has to offer than by the hate and violence that extremists of all faiths and none would like to portray.

Such an action plays into the hands of extremists everywhere, we would do well to repudiate their message of hate by looking to the higher humanitarian principles that exist in the Qur'an. Our holy book places utmost value on the sanctity of human life by saying: If anyone saves a life it should be regarded as though he had saved the lives of all mankind. It honours Jesus and Moses as great Prophets and teaches respect of all religious scriptures".

Diane Abbott MP said: “People of all faiths and none should condemn this act, which will only contribute to the climate of hostility that exists against the Muslim community.  Islamophobia is pervasive in all areas of society and deserves the same rejection and condemnation that we would expect against any other community.”

Anas Altikriti, Spokesperson for the British Muslim Initiative said: “This is the act of a crazed, fanatic and extremist fringe group which neither represents true Christianity nor speaks for Christians. It is uplifting to see so many true Christians and churches in the US and around the world speak out against the actions of Rev Terry Jones and his minuscule congregation in Florida. It is also encouraging to find numerous governments also realising the potential damage this can potentially cause, especially in fuelling counterpart fanaticism and extremism.

The collaboration of Muslims and all sectors of American and British societies, religious and secular, to confront the ugly face of Islamophobia and its effects is refreshing and must be emulated by all concerned.”

Sabby Dhalu, Secretary of One Society Many Cultures said: “The outrage felt by Muslims of all persuasions is entirely understandable and we should all take the opportunity of Eid to join in celebrating the richness of Islamic culture, its contribution to world culture and the right of Muslims to practice their faith in peace.

It is not hard to imagine the outrage that would be expressed if a Muslim group proposed a bonfire of the Bible or the Torah. A similar revulsion should be expressed at the hate-mongerers of Florida.”

For more information see: www.onesocietymanycultures.org/

One  Society Many Cultures will be holding its national conference to celebrate diversity and challenge racism on Islamophobia, 11 December, Mary Ward  House, London.  Speakers will include: Neil Jameson, Executive Director, London Citizens, Anas Altikriti, British Muslim Initiative, Dr Edie Friedman, Executive Director, Jewish Council for Racial Equality and Bruce Kent, Vice President, Pax Christi.

Share this story