After the recent Leytonstone Station terrorist attacks, the hashtag #YouAintNoMuslimBruv began trending on Twitter. If there’s one thing that shows we cannot blame everyday Muslims for so-called Islamic State, it’s this.
Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. It is a religion that has been manipulated and twisted by terrorists. In the same way that nobody blamed Christians for the horrific actions of the Ku Klux Klan, we should not blame Muslims for the actions of IS.
Islam largely revolves around the idea of peace, and a recent poll showed that views of IS in Muslim countries are extremely negative. IS has transformed and manipulated Islam so that it no longer conveys what Muslims believe in – peace and love.
The media has manipulated how we see Islam, with recent headlines, such as The Sun’s declaration that one in five Muslims are sympathetic to Jihadis. The tabloid press is pushing an image that Muslims are responsible for these terrorist acts, and it is important that we, as readers, see through this fearmongering. The statistics The Sun used were later proved to be completely unrelated to the message that the newspaper was trying to push, demonstrating how important it is that we see through the messages of fear the mainstream tabloids want us to believe.
The Koran places direct emphasis on peace – a specific verse in the holy book states, “…Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” (Koran 5.32). The horrific acts of terrorism committed by IS are definitely not peaceful. IS wants to convert as many people as possible (through force if necessary) to their version of Islam.
However, we once again read in the Koran a contradictory statement in 2.256 – “There is no compulsion where religion is concerned”. It is plain to see from these quotations that these terrorists are picking and misinterpreting elements of the Koran, such as Hadith 8, which is often interpreted as allowing Jihad. The ambiguity of such statements and the complexity that occurs with the interpretation of old texts (much like the Bible’s statements on homosexuality being misinterpreted) has allowed elements to become manipulated and spread as negative. With Donald Trump announcing that he would ban Muslims from entering the USA, it is becoming obvious that Muslims are being victimised for atrocities they are not responsible for.
The evidence of Muslim disdain for IS became obvious in the creation of #YouAintNoMuslimBruv, a hashtag which dominated social media after the Leytonstone attacks occurred. The trend symbolises how we, as individuals, must stand up for Muslims. IS wants us to turn against Muslims, to create an idea of it being “Us and Them”, to help them lure more innocent Muslims into radicalisation. But we cannot let that happen, for our own sakes and our own safety. We must protect our fellow citizens. Muslims are British citizens, and while we take care of our own values, we must take care of them too. Muslims are not responsible for extremists – extremists are.