There was a message of solidarity as religion and neighborhood leaders, joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, held a gathering at the East London Mosque devoted to victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings.
Posters saying “no to Islamophobia” and “this will not divide us” had been held up at the occasion in Whitechapel, as one speaker after one other referred to as for individuals to come back collectively, throughout international locations and religions.
The Secretary Common of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Rashid Khan, expressed “solidarity and companionship with all the people who are suffering from the heinous act of violence against minority communities”.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, stated an “attack on faith anywhere” was an “attack on faith everywhere”.
However there was additionally an apparent sense of anger from the Muslim neighborhood – not simply at the attackers but in addition the media, politicians, and different public figures for “demonising” Muslims.
Mohammed Mahmoud, an imam who was praised for his response to an attack outdoors a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, in 2017, stated the safety and peace of Muslims was below risk.
He stated individuals in energy had been partly accountable for “perpetuating the narrative of otherness of a group who are perceived as infiltrators, and the dehumanisation and the vilification of Muslims who, by and large, are peaceful, law-abiding, loving citizens”.
Others had been essential of the media for giving a platform to individuals they are saying are overtly Islamophobic, in addition to the protection of terror assaults.
Jusna Begum, 43, who believes Islamophobia is getting worse, stated: “I’ve stopped studying them, how assaults are coated…
“A easy headline will at all times return to the faith, for instance this Australian man, we cannot say white, or Christian, we are saying mad males.”
‘Fan the flames’
Lawrence Lewis, 28, stated the media “fuels the fire and makes the problem worse”.
“I really feel like loads of the time the Western narrative of the media is to demonise Islam, as a result of they assume that the legal guidelines and ideas of Islam go in opposition to their ideology, and it does not,” he stated.
Sheila McGregor, of the Tower Hamlets Stand Up To Racism group, stated the “demonisation” of Muslims was a “world phenomenon” and had been carried out by politicians for “a long time”.
“This sort of act occurs when individuals really feel it’s official and it is legitimised from the highest,” she stated.
The function of language in fomenting anti-Islam sentiment was touched on by a number of of the audio system, together with the London mayor.
Mr Khan didn’t reference the media or any politicians immediately, however strongly hinted at their function in influencing individuals and at their function in individuals turning into radicalised.
“There’s a accountability on all of us to be very cautious within the language we use, and the messages we amplify,” the mayor stated.
“There are some individuals in our metropolis, in our nation, who fire up hatred.”
Others spoke of their shock at the New Zealand attack and their concern that one thing comparable would possibly occur in different mosques.
Yelda Mahmood, 28, who had travelled from the US to London, stated: “Humanity as a complete wants to come back collectively.
“It does not matter what race you might be or what faith you follow.
“How can somebody go to somebody’s home of worship and do one thing like that?
“It happens on the streets and in our neighbourhoods and now in our place of worships.”
Within the wake of the attack, police have increased patrols at British mosques to provide reassurance.
However Mohammed Mahmoud stated there additionally wanted to be extra finished to forestall individuals from spreading their Islamophobic views.
He added: “We demand that these platform providers, these people who provide columns and airtime for such individuals are called out and exposed and scandalised for their crimes against not only a group of Muslims who are peace loving, but also the crimes of disturbing the peace.”
Mr Khan stated he hoped the elevated presence of police at mosques would reassure worshippers.
“As far as we are concerned our diversity is a strength not weakness,” he stated.
“We don’t simply tolerate it, we embrace it and respect it.”