The vile ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ movement in the United Kingdom has drawn strong condemnation from both Muslim and non-Muslim Singaporeans alike.
The movement, believed to be organised by fringe groups, declared April 3 2018 ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ and is offering unspecified rewards for those who participate and accumulate a certain number of points. Those who participate can earn points by committing a number of sick acts: from verbally abusing a Muslim; forcibly removing a Muslim woman’s hijab; disfiguring, torturing and murdering Muslims; and bombing mosques or Mecca.
Fears among those in the Muslim community in London rose as flyers publicising the event and advocating violence against Muslims began circulating in the city last month:
The UK’s Counter-Terrorism Unit told reporters in a statement last month: “Police are investigating a number of reports of potentially malicious communications sent to individuals across the UK. Anyone with any concerns about a communication they may have received should contact their local police force.”
Despite assurances by law enforcement agencies, many British Muslims are believed to be bracing for the worst. In the face of this, Singaporeans have joined the countless voices of individuals around the world who have condemned the vile movement.
While many locals here have excoriated the movement, one Singaporean has opined that though the flyer causes alarm he believes that tomorrow will just be a normal day for British Muslims since “most Londoners stand up to acts of bigotry by their own”.
The netizen, Walid J. Abraham, wrote in a comprehensive post:
“Tomorrow is ‘punish a Muslim day’ in London. Flyers were distributed some time ago detailing the number of ‘points’ one would get for certain acts of violence toward Muslims. (Refer to the picture below for the full). The situation though is not nearly as dramatic as it may sound; in actuality, i doubt many Londoners even know of this. The flyers are undoubtedly the acts of fringe groups.
“This will not be the first time such an incident has occurred, of course. For instance, in 1936, a group of fascists marched through East London, where there were sizeable Jewish communities. Lately, some far-right groups hold protests outside mosques and in areas with many Muslims.
“Yet, the outcome has been the same every single time. London carries on as per normal, common sense (eventually at least) prevails, and most Londoners stand up to acts of bigotry by their own.
“One gets the sense that there is something different about these times, though. Brexit, the rise of far-right individuals and groups throughout the West, and the popularity of anti-immigration causes provide for a potentially disconcerting background. There is also the small matter of ‘Islam’ being the antagonist in this episode: Islam has long been regarded as the antithesis of Western-European civilization.
“Yet, at the same time, London elected a Muslim mayor; Londoners regularly organize pro-refugee and pro-immigration events/demonstrations; and most importantly, Muslims in general carry on with their lives in an almost mundane manner on a daily basis.
“Yes, there are bigots amongst us in every society, but it is important to note that there are many people who are our allies as well.
“And even for the ones who espouse chauvinistic views, there are different levels of bigotry. Some may have never had proper interaction with Muslims, and really do not know enough. Others may have had encounters with Muslims, but those happen to be less than pleasant. Many are actually concerned with socio-economic issues, and racial-religious matters become easy rallying calls for political entrepreneurs. There are, of course, those who are just pure and outright racists, who just cannot stand Muslims and/or other non-white peoples. Not all ‘bigots’ are equal, and varied responses should be prepared for the different types. Quotidian engagement with those from other/no faiths is as important as robust intellectual arguments against Islamophobes.
“In all likelihood, tomorrow will be nondescript, with a few incidences of aggression toward Muslims. London is either tolerant, or indifferent, or perhaps, a curious combination of the two.”
Others around the world have responded to the flyers by circulating their own flyer for a movement called ‘Love a Muslim’ where participants can earn points by being kind to Muslims:
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