Every few months the same cycle repeats itself. Someone says something hateful towards Muslims, like banning them from an entire country, or something happens to threaten either large groups of white civilians, or Muslims. When either of these groups are threatened, the response that is triggered is exactly the same. Muslim communities, and left-wing liberals who get their kicks from helping the underdog, begin to apologise and validate the place of Muslims in the Western world.
The internet is then flooded with viral videos and tweets that everyone believes are helpful and necessary, while also being motivational and uplifting. For example, Buzzfeed’s viral videos of ‘I’m a Muslim but…’ campaign, explaining all the ways in which Muslims are just as normal as anyone else. Or the hashtag #AVeryMerryMuslimChristmas that sped around Twitter showing the world that we know how to assimilate.
The latest fad is the ‘Love a Muslim’ letters that are landing on welcome mats all over the country in an ironic bid to make Muslims feel more welcome in the place they’ve always called home. It’s supposed to combat the ‘Punish a Muslim’ letters that have recently gone around in an attempt to encourage people to show British Muslims support and love. I think as a Muslim I’m supposed to feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, but it only leaves me rolling my eyes in irritation as we, once more, start the dreary ‘we’re so normal/please accept us’ tirade.
And we’re both to blame here, the Muslims and the non-Muslims. Between us we whip ourselves into a media frenzy in the name of inclusiveness, stamp a hashtag on it and call it liberty, convinced we’ve done the right thing, finally able to sleep easy at night. But I don’t need days dedicated to loving Muslims or hashtags or ridiculous videos where Muslims say ridiculous things like, ‘I’m a Muslim but I hate violence.’ SHUT UP! Everyone hates violence (except me right now; I’m feeling very violent but it’s more shouty in rage and passion than actual real violence).
No other religion has been forced to apologise, explain or validate in the same way Muslims have, so why in the hell are you standing there telling some Buzzfeed executives (who think they’re freedom fighters for having come up with this ingenious idea) about how you hate violence, i.e, how Islam isn’t a violent religion and does not condone killing people? Which Catholic person stood up and apologised for the Knights Templar? Or the fall of Constantinople? Or any other white baptised man that shot up a school?
If you’re a Muslim circulating ‘Love a Muslim Day’ letters, please stop. And if you’re not a Muslim and are intending to spend 3rd April loving a Muslim, please don’t. It changes nothing and you’re merely perpetuating the issue. What we need, more than anything, is to tell and live our stories. To include Muslims into the fabric of our culture and existence not because they’re Muslims, but because they’re just normal people. Write Muslim characters into TV shows in which their entire storyline isn’t about being Muslim. Be a Muslim, hijab-wearing model because you’re tall and beautiful, not because you’re a Muslim. Be a Muslim hip-hop artist that sings slow jams about sex without it being about the fact that you’re Muslim.