Hawzah News Agency - (Bristol - UK) - At the end of May, as the holy month of Ramadan drew to a close, the Muslim communities invited our fellow Bristolians to Britain’s biggest street party. And Bristolians attended in their thousands.
That was Bristol's Grand Iftar; what an astounding success it was.
At the event, I spoke to so many people who had been moved to tears at the sight of such a coming together of so many of our city's diverse communities.
And truly, it was a sight to behold.
This is the best of who we are. As Muslims. As people of faith, and no faith. People of all races, colours, sexual orientation, genders.
As the sun set over the horizon, there we were. United. One. Bristolians breaking bread together. Sharing our food and our stories. Listening to one another. Talking. Smiling. Sat side by side on the floor, on carpets laid out especially. In the middle of the Easton’s iconic St Mark’s Road. What a beautiful sight it was. Uplifting. Heartwarming. A beacon. A message of peace rippling out to the world.
Negative actions of “Muslims” receives 357% more media coverage than the negative actions of those from other communities. And because of that disproportionate attention, “acts of terrorism” appear synonymous with Muslims. It gives the impression that we are all at it. For them, we are “all the same”.
It’s why some claim – with pride, not shame - to be Islamophobic. For them, Islam is to be feared. It’s why the current Conservative government isn’t willing to tackle the Islamophobes within it’s own ranks; it refuses to even accept the all party definition of “Islamophobia”.
For such people, Islamophobia is a seen as a vehicle for Muslims to silence criticism of our faith; a trojan horse for shariah law to reign supreme in this land. Not to address the prejudice and discrimination that too many of us face daily
Events like the Grand Iftar are one avenue to do that. An opportunity for Muslims to challenge the prejudice directly. And shout down the haters on all sides.