Reaction: Frustration of Muslims forced to condemn atrocity


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The Independent Online

British Muslims emphatically condemned the actions of the Woolwich killers, as thousands used social media to express their outrage and sorrow.

Several Facebook pages, including one called "RIP Woolwich Soldier –Muslims Grieve For You Also" were set up by members of the Islamic community in a spontaneous outpouring of grief at the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.

Their messages reflected the outrage of the nation and the particular anger of a community that felt the perpetrators had hijacked their religion to justify violence.

"The horrific attack in Woolwich had nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with the scum who say they do this in the name of Islam," wrote one Facebook user, Imran Khan. "It's a minority like you, who give Muslims like me who work hard to build interfaith relationships, a bad name. You are a disgrace to Islam," added Tameena Hussain.

Some messages reflected the exasperation of a community repeatedly under siege after acts of terrorism or violence by a minority. "I'm done apologising for things I haven't done. Cold-blooded murder committed by random Muslim have nothing to do with Islam," wrote Nader.

The grassroots messages of condemnation echoed the statements of established community groups such as the Muslim Council of Britain, which issued an unequivocal statement.

"This is a truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam and we condemn this unreservedly. Our thoughts are with the victim and his family," it read.

The Islamic Society of Britain said: "Justifying this killing in the name of faith or religion is false and rejected by the Islamic Society of Britain, by the scripture, by those who commit to God, by civil society, and by truth."

Mohammed Shafiq from the Ramadhan Foundation said: "London and our nation will come together and will not be divided. The terrorists will never win."

Fiyaz Mughal, the director of charity Faith Matters, added: "The cold-blooded killing of a British soldier is a crime that sickens every member of every community in the UK. We must come together, isolate those who believe that extremism and violence are acceptable, and work to ensure that they meet the full force of the law.

"We must send a clear message to anyone that an attack on a serving soldier going about their daily activities is something that must be utterly condemned."

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, of the Association of British Muslims, said the attackers' actions had "removed them from Islam, because there is no grounds to justify terrorism".

Akbar Khan, from Building Bridges, condemned "the killing of an innocent person" and "all forms of extremism wherever they are".

'All our hard work is undone'

"When you hear of these atrocities, you bury your head in your hands and you don't want to hear that a Muslim is involved," said Zulfi Karim, secretary of the Bradford Council for Mosques.

In Bradford, bridges have been built between different communities. When the city's only synagogue faced closure because the Jewish community was struggling to raise funds to fix a leaky roof, their Muslim neighbours came to their aid with a £2,000 donation.

"All the hard work we are doing, and then something like this happens and you feel you have gone three steps backwards," said Mr Karim. "The last thing we want is for Christians to fear Muslims on the streets of Britain."