Dark clouds still cover the United Kingdom and some European countries. The issue of hatred towards religions is still clinging to, along with the rising of tensions in Arab countries, and the challenges of asylum seekers immigrants that increase in Europe.
Amidst the dark cloud, hatred towards Islam and Judaism is still at a high escalation. Hatred of Islam manifested in the patterns of Islamophobia. Meanwhile, hatred towards the Jewish community is seen in increasing of antisemitism. Both seem to go hand in hand with a slice of the case that is almost similar, even though it originated in attacks on adherents of different religions. However, the pattern of hatred between the two is almost the same, namely in the realm of terror over religious freedom, as well as attacks on religious minorities.
In this essay, the author highlights the basic things related to the rise of Islamophobia in European countries, especially in Great Britain, as well as how the Muslim community fights hatred with a peace campaign, introducing Islam with love.
In the midst of winter storms in Europe, a group of Muslim youth in Birmingham provided warm space for people who had no place to live. Yes, the Muslim community in Birmingham chose to do something to show the true face of Islam: rahmatan lil-alamin, a blessing for the universe.
The Muslim community in Birmingham collaborated to organize a program that has a direct impact on the problems that occur in British cities. Birmingham Muslims who are members of the Green Lane Mosque and Community Center (GLMCC) are mobilizing resources, funds, and experts to help people who have been homeless.
GLMCC representative, Kamran Hussain, revealed that the fundamental problems in several cities in the United Kingdom include the increasing number of homeless people.
“The problem of homelessness is increasing in the midlands and the UK. We are now reaching a crisis level with people dying on the street. It’s important that faith and community groups do their part to help those in need. As an Islamic faith institute, we are required to take care of the poor and less fortunate (the problem of lack of housing is now increasing in the Midland region / central part of England and the United Kingdom region. Now we touch the level of crisis with people who died in the streets. As a religious institution, we need to care for the poor and disadvantaged,” he said as reported by Birminghammail (January 3, 2020).
For the Muslim community in Birmingham, efforts to help people who do not have a place to live is a crucial issue, especially since the facilities of the British government are very limited. By providing temporary accommodation for homeless people, those who are not fortunate to avoid being seriously ill due to the piercing winter weather.
In Britain and parts of Europe, the problem of humanitarian crises in the form of shelter is a challenge. The increasing problem of homelessness is in line with the large number of immigrants from conflict countries, especially from the Middle East and Africa. Inhabitants from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, to several countries affected by prolonged conflict chose to cross into Europe. This refugee problem is looming over the European sky, with a variety of polemics, policy debates, and different alignments among heads of state.
Great Britain is quite strict in limiting the number of war refugees. In the UK, the government severely limits the entry of asylum seekers with stringent administrative requirements, as well as various accompanying policies that minimize the flow of immigrants from conflict countries. The British government, under Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now very strict in immigration policy. Moreover, the issue of Brexit which makes tension in European and British relations, makes immigration and health insurance regulations more stringent.
Some European countries have different regulations in managing the influx of immigrants from Arab and African countries. German and French had a loose policy in their governments to accept the first wave of asylum seekers, at the beginning of the conflicts in several Middle Eastern countries in the 2000s. At present, regulations regarding immigrants have become stricter with the increasing number of asylum seekers in European countries.
Islamophobia and Populism
A week before the general election in the United Kingdom, a British citizen asked Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbin: “What would you do to get the hate out of politics?”
This question was asked by a British citizen to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbin, in a debate forum in the BBC media. Boris Johnson led the Tory Party from the conservative circles. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbin became the number one person in the Labor Party, a party leading to liberal socialism in the United Kingdom.
The Tory Party and the Labor Party do have their own internal problems. The Tory party is considered to carry a sentiment of hatred towards Islam, along with Boris Johnson’s controversial statement. Before becoming Prime Minister, Boris Johnson made several statements stifling the bosom of British Muslims, including statements that Muslim women who use the burqa like a letter box. This statement drew criticism from Muslim communities throughout the United Kingdom.
Boris Johnson is known as a leader who likes to play controversy. He is actually a sophisticated politician, with a variety of issues played in the public sphere. Boris Johnson plays strategy in the midst of rising political populism. Johnson is aptly aiming at the position of Prime Minister replacing Theresa May, as well as successfully escorting the Tory Party in the December 2019 general election.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbin is haunted by the issue of antisemitism in the Labor Party. Corbin is considered an anti-Semitic party leader figure, who hurts the feelings of the Jewish community in England. Although Corbin dodged and apologized for his political maneuvers that were considered antisemitic, he continued to debate the concept of antisemitism in the public sphere and academic talks in Britain.
Amidst the hatred narratives growing, Islamophobia and British antisemitism, the actions of the Muslim community in Birmingham can be valuable lessons. A face of Islam in Europe appears with a smiling face, when the Muslim community provides assistance without discriminating religion. Giving warm space to those who have no place to live in the peak of winter, caring for and providing accommodation for poor people, is a smile of European Islam.
The increasing narrative of hatred, and the spread of Islamophobia and antisemitism are a dark side of religious relations in Europe which has even become a global phenomenon. However, Islam in Europe emerged with a smiling face from the concrete actions of the Muslim community in Birmingham. Islamic love that is present in Europe.
Translated from the original article : https://islami.co/bagaimana-muslim-inggris-melawan-islamophobia/, by : Munawir Aziz, on 22 January 2020.