Upon reading about Mr. Pickles' letter to Muslim leaders and on hearing how Isis has threatened to kill two of Japan's citizens, I thought it would be apt to revisit last week's discussion on the Charlie Hebdo shootings by extrapolating that discussion into a new post about the increasing pressure on the Muslim community.
To start with, let's address Mr. Pickles, a man who has taken it upon himself to address the Islamic community on behalf of Britain, asking them to do more to help in preventing radicalization. The problem I have here is that Mr. Pickles' patronizing letter has been addressed to the Muslim community and leaders, whom he implies has had a direct responsibility in allowing hate-preachers access to large audiences, some of these people having been manipulated into becoming radicalized, and the issue is that Pickles has pointed the finger at Islam as though it is beneath Britain.
I'm not sure, but did Pickles write a letter to Christian leaders after the seemingly endless stories surrounding child abuse among Christian vicars and preachers? I don't remember hearing about one. The issue is that Muslim communities are being vilified because those committing the atrocities claim to be doing so in the name of Islam. Of course if you ask the average Muslim they repudiate the actions of these people, and refuse to accept that this is anything to do with the Muslim faith, because it quite simply isn't.
Mr. Pickles' letter, right or wrong, which it was most certainly wrong, was irresponsible, it has created a clear divide and has pretty much blamed the Muslim community for allowing this to happen, telling the community politely to sort out its act. What does this do? Incite the growing prejudices towards anyone who is different within our country? Yes, but not only this, it gives rise to people who are willing to voice their views about immigration and, in particular, Muslim presence within Britain.
The letter seems to distance Britain from the recent atrocities by saying how Muslim preachers can encourage Muslims in telling them how Islam can become a part of British identity. It is Britain's responsibility to encourage a diverse range of religious views in its effort to support freedom of speech, but the letter seems to imply that it is important for Muslim beliefs to be inherently British in order for the religion to work. I'm not defending the atrocities, far from it, but by saying what he has said he has managed to create a rift where it is seemingly now okay to separate Muslim heritage from Britain's culture, rather than encouraging an amalgamation of the two.
The problem of religious radicalization is something that the whole country has to deal with, any form of terrorism is, in my opinion, an innate dissatisfaction with the society as it currently is. Society shouldn't change for the minority but, in general, there has been an ever-growing detachment and lack of belief in the current political and economical system. Terrorism isn't purely down to the system we live in but there does seem to be a lack of compassion and I think that economical gain can sometimes distort the morals behind wars and invasions, and this in turn has an effect on normal people who aren't involved - encouraging prejudice and angst towards a set group of people.
I think the next year will be very telling on the implications of the vilification of Muslim people, and I fear that prejudice will grow into discrimination and discrimination may grow into something far worse. If you'd like to offer your input into what is a very heavily opinionated topic, please comment below and I'll get back to you on your thoughts. Thanks for reading, it really is appreciated.