Terrorists don't represent me

I was delighted to see my motion on Islam and Terrorism passed at the full council meeting on 12 th April 2017, writes Peterborough City Councillor Ansar Ali.

Saturday, 29th April 2017, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:46 pm
Ansar Ali

Every time an act of terror or shooting occurs, Muslims closely watch the news with extreme trepidation praying that the suspect is not Muslim. This is not because these terrorists are likely to be Muslim but rather because in the instances where they happen to be, we see amplified mass media coverage and extreme unjustified hatred towards Muslims.

I volunteer to host regular visits from schools and other non-Muslim groups to three of our local Mosques and often I am told by teachers that some children are withdrawn by their parents because of what they see and read in the media about Islam

I am tired of hearing the word “terrorist” not being used when the suspect in a terrorist attack is a non-Muslim. I am tired of the “mentally disabled” excuse being recycled when the suspect in a terrorist attack is a Caucasian. I am tired of seeing hundreds of terrorist attacks carried out by non-Muslims not get the same coverage of even a single terrorist attack where the suspect happens to be a so called Muslim.

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Above it all, I am tired of having to repeatedly say that Muslims are not terrorists. It is time we silence these efforts to demonise Islam and Muslims which spreads Islamophobia, hatred and distrust of all Muslims.

These appalling crimes are committed by criminals, they have no religion. All those who terrify others are terrorists, they have no religious affiliation, therefore I ask that the term terrorism or terrorist should not be confined to the so called Muslim criminals.

I was with my elderly parents on that Wednesday afternoon when news of the atrocity at Westminster broke.

It was great to see once again faith and local community leaders come together in the Town Hall in the Mayor’s Parlour soon after the events in London to show solidarity. That’s what makes me enormously proud of our city.

Prophet Mohammad Peace Be Upon Him who said “You do not do evil to those who do evil to you, but you deal with them with forgiveness and kindness”.

The twenty thousand plus Muslim community of Peterborough were horrified by the events in Westminster on Wednesday, March 22 , like the rest of our wonderfully diverse city of Peterborough, and the country.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by these horrific events, wherever they occur in the world.

These acts of criminality can never be justified or condoned. However, when an act of terror takes place it not only causes deaths and injuries, it also facilitates the media and many others in positions of responsibility to relate the actions of these criminals to my beautiful faith of Islam, by irresponsibly projecting that the individual was an Islamist, inspired by Islam and radicalised, without any evidence to support these ill-informed conclusions.

This deeply offends the significant Muslim community within this city, myself and no doubt all other right thinking people of our wonderfully diverse communities of Peterborough.

We, as a city, are rightly proud of our diversity and I believe a beacon for interfaith relations and dialogue for the rest of the country, built on mutual respect for “One Peterborough One Community”.

This council urges our government to increase its efforts to combat irresponsible reporting and statements from those in positions of influence which unfairly associate the peaceful religion of Islam with acts of terrorism and criminality.

These evil criminals don’t represent any religion. Their motivation is to divide our communities and cause disharmony. They should not be allowed to succeed.