Equality Column: Don’t put your blame on me PM

Manchester Terror Attack
Manchester Terror Attack

As a Muslim born in the UK, and a son of an Imam, I am sick and tired of our Government holding the Muslim community hostage for the crimes of terrorists.

I’m tired of hearing that the Muslim community needs to do more to stop terrorism. I am tired of being asked to condemn terrorism just because I’m a Muslim, or even apologise for the acts of terrorists.

Theresa May

Theresa May

Let me say, for the record, my heart bleeds for every human being that has died at the hands of these terrorists. The best man at my wedding and his daughter were at that concert in Manchester, my eight-year-old son had his name changed from Omar to “Bomar” by another eight-year-old boy whose father was fighting in Iraq.

And, when my son and I travelled to Canada, the authorities separated my son and I for nine hours to interrogate us just because we are Muslims.

Coupled with this my father, because of his beard, has been often referred to as Osama by people who he would often provide a public service too. This is just my experience.

So, I say to the Prime Minister what is it exactly that she wants us Muslims to do more, that they are not doing already?

British Muslims feel guilty for a crime they did not commit, for terrorist actions that are nor in their control

For the record, let me also say that Salman Abedi - the Manchester British-born terrorist - had been referred to the authorities more than three times by local Muslim community members, and I am now hearing the same about some of the London terrorists too.

So, as I sit here listening to the Prime Minister stating “enough is enough”, and that we need to have some uncomfortable and embarrassing conversations, in that case let’s begin with below.

Can the Prime Minister tell me why, according to the Campaign Against Arms Trade, David Cameron licensed £5.6b worth of arms sales to 24 countries of humanitarian concern?

Why did Donald Trump sign a $110b deal with Saudi Arabia on the same day of the Manchester terrorist attack, worth a staggering $350b over 10 years, which is equivalent to purchasing four brand spanking new NHS’s ?

Can she explain what impact these arms trade deals will have on our security, freedom and democracy?

Can she explain why she did not listen to the Police Federation when they told her, as Home Secretary, that she would blunt them from keeping the country safe. And, in this context, why did she rip the heart out of community policing by axing more than 20,000 jobs?

Can she explain why her Government, despite their commitment, did not review the “Prevent” strategy?

Can she explain why more than 800 people went to join ISIS in Syria from this country only a year ago? Can she explain why she allows the media to continue to use the term Islamic State when describing ISIS? If this is their aim, aren’t we by default supporting them?

Can she explain why Salman Abedi was allowed to travel to Libya and back without relevant checks?

Can she explain how many local authorities in the country have integration strategies that work?

Can she explain how representative is the public sector of the people they claim to serve?

Can she explain the state and effectiveness of our intelligence sharing systems with Europe, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan?

The point is this, you don’t have to be a counter-terrorism expert to know that, if you fill the world with arms, if you blunt your community safety services and you don’t have effective intelligence systems, you can’t have an effective counter-terrorism strategy.

Moreover, all the questions I have asked above are within the control of our Government. Yet instead of acknowledging their own systemic mistakes, the Government instead choose to make three million

British Muslims feel guilty for a crime that they did not commit, for terrorist actions that are nor in their control.

Let me finish with the words of the Rag’n’Bone man: “Prime Minister, with respect, don’t put YOUR blame on me”.