Dear Muslim friends,
I know that horrible sinking feeling you get when a horrific incident occurs.
You worry that the perpetrator is a Muslim/that the perpetrator will be perceived to be Muslim. You worry that you or your friends and relatives have to pay the price for it – walking down the street/in a restaurant/in the work place, in the playground.
These attacks are despicable -regardless of who the perpetrator is. There is no dispute about this.
But, please don’t feel like you have to condemn these attacks to prove you don’t condone violence. To condemn this is fine. To condemn them because of the possible race or religion of the perpetrator, is not your responsibility.
Your entire life is proof of the fact that you don’t condone violence. The fact that you get up and do pretty basic, ordinary things – which hurt no one – is testament to the fact that your personal beliefs are not one and the same as those who commit despicable acts in the name of Islam.
If you feel you should condemn simply to distance yourself from the perpetrator, then you have taken on the responsibility that certain newspapers have tainted you with.
You’ve taken on an identity which was constructed for you.
If there truly is a responsibility which every single one of us should feel, is the responsibility to contribute to a world in which we don’t feel responsible for the actions of others – simply on the basis that we may share a religion with them. And that means tackling Islamophobia and all forms of division.