YZ Patel taking a break to introspect the state of affairs we are in
A fireworks display. Nothing out of the ordinary then. There are hundreds throughout the country. A special significance about this one? More expensive pyrotechnics? More events surrounding it? Somebody from The only way is Essex turning up? Going on all night? Two nights? All worthy but none of these. All this is on the periphery to the real narrative.
This event was held in the outskirts of a town where there is very few hardly any Asians or Muslims. The event was organised by a Christian organisation namely the community church and our protagonists in this story are the minority in every way.
An outwardly Asian Muslim family in the full Islamic attire. Fully bearded male and wife in the hijab with a couple of kids in tow. Sheep in the wolves den you would suspect. Ready for slaughter. It would not be unexpected for them to be viewed with suspicion or even hostility, a feeling they’ve somehow misread the event and they’ve arrived at the wrong one. It’s the one further in town you need to be at not this one.
But there was none of this, they welcomed them as if they were guests of honour. The organisers felt it was a privilege that somebody from another faith had decided to participate in their event, they couldn’t do enough for them to make them feel welcome and comfortable in surroundings which from outside looking in, you would think anything but. The interlopers felt that this story had to be told.
The family in question felt embarrassed and somewhat ashamed by the hospitality and warmth that was offered to them so much so that they felt they needed to do some introspective soul searching themselves. It is us the Muslim community that are in the firing line, that have to prove the doubters wrong yet we are still being given an example by those that have no need to prove anything.
What we as a community as a collective need to do, is more of this. To involve people from all sections of the community to any event. Have more open days have more events where prejudices ignorances can be broken down. Where what they read is not the reality. More events throughout the year not just in Ramadhan. We need to educate and break down their misgivings and distrust about us and we need to treat these people better than our own like this family were.
We need to actively show what true Islamic qualities are of selflessness putting others before ourselves the true examples of the prophet in action. We don’t need quangos, committees and umbrella organisations, we need to do this at ground level all of us. Could be as small as saying hello to someone on the street, giving way to someone in the car. It does not have to be grand gestures. All the little things if we all do them will tantamount to something a lot bigger. The sum of all the parts.
The Alan Henning Fund which this publication and every right thinking individual supports is one example of the things we can do. A initiative started by one individual all by herself as she felt compelled, we as a community should be doing something anything to show the rest that we as a community empathise and recognise those that are immersed in good regardless whether they share our faith or not.
When we start doing this, including myself maybe then they will view us as people who not harm but help.