There was a message of solidarity as faith and community leaders, joined by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, held a gathering at the East London Mosque dedicated to victims of the New Zealand mosque shootings.
Posters saying “no to Islamophobia” and “this will not divide us” were held up at the event in Whitechapel, as one speaker after another called for people to come together, across countries and religions.
The Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, Harun Rashid Khan, expressed “solidarity and companionship with all the people who are suffering from the heinous act of violence against minority communities”.
The Bishop of London, Sarah Mullally, said an “attack on faith anywhere” was an “attack on faith everywhere”.
But there was also an obvious sense of anger from the Muslim community – not just at the attackers but also the media, politicians, and other public figures for “demonising” Muslims.
Mohammed Mahmoud, an imam who was praised for his response to an attack outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, London, in 2017, said the security and peace of Muslims was under threat.
He said people in power were partly responsible for “perpetuating the narrative of otherness of a group who are perceived as infiltrators, and the dehumanisation and the vilification of Muslims who, by and large, are peaceful, law-abiding, loving citizens”.
Others were critical of the media for giving a platform to people they say are openly Islamophobic, as well as the coverage of terror attacks.
Jusna Begum, 43, who believes Islamophobia is getting worse, said: “I’ve stopped reading them, how attacks are covered…
“A simple headline will always go back to the religion, for example this Australian guy, we won’t say white, or Christian, we say mad men.” Read more