On the night of Friday November 13th the world froze as seven coordinated terror attacks killed at least 129 people in the city of Paris. In the wake of these horrific events, mourners across the world have added a French flag to their profile pictures on social media and have been actively tweeting in support of #PrayForParis. Though there have – justly – been discussions concerning the lack of reporting and support for the victims of similar terror attacks across the Middle East and Africa, the attacks in Paris have understandably struck a chord across Europe.
However, the French administration’s decision to fight fire with fire by escalating attacks on Daesh (ISIS) is worrying, to say the least. In recent years, this ‘war on terror’ approach has resulted in little more than the death and displacement of innocent people across the Middle East, whist at the same time increasing Islamophobia in the West. Many in the UK and Europe have already begun senselessly turning their backs on refugees fleeing attacks by terror groups and western intervention in the Middle East.
This morning there was a deliberate fire set at Bishopbriggs Cultural Centre in Glasgow – which is used as a mosque – and the Muslim community in Scotland have been advised to stay inside for their own safety.
First and foremost, we should not be punishing our Muslim brothers and sisters for the terror attacks in Paris. They should not be expected to stay indoors for fear of being attacked. We should not ask Muslim members of our community – who are facing the same threat of terror as we are – to apologise on behalf of extremists, simply because they share a faith. This is victim blaming. Instead we should be warning Islamophobic extremists that we will not tolerate attacks in our communities. We should be encouraging and supporting our Muslim brothers and sisters to feel safe in embracing their religion whilst continuing to be active members of our shared society. We should be saying “these streets are no more mine than they are yours.”
We need to stand together to build stronger communities; Islamophobia only serves to create rifts in our social cohesion which allows terror groups to infiltrate and corrupt those who feel marginalised. In as much as we condemn extremist terror groups and are saddened by the senseless loss of life in Paris, Lebanon, Nigeria, Syria and elsewhere, we ask that you stand up to condemn Islamophobia, because terror has no religion or race.
Love and Solidarity,
EUSA’s BME Group
NUS Scotland Black Women’s Committee