Despite Heroic Efforts Following Attack, Manchester Muslims Face Hatred At Home
Monday’s terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester prompted incredible acts of heroism from the city’s Muslim and Sikh population. Muslim doctors and nurses worked around the clock to minimize casualties and injuries form the attack, which left 22 injured and 59 wounded. Muslim and Sikh taxi drivers have also received widespread praise for driving people home for free throughout the night.
This is Islam! "Muslim doctors and taxi drivers join in the effort to help those affected by the Manchester terror attacks." #Manchester
@JoshhWoods @mattjcorner Absolutely a muslim driver took me home last night gave me water and charged my phone. Absolutely stars in my eyes.
My friends dad , a Muslim NeuroSurgeon was called from his home to go and help https://t.co/nvmTQGalsQ
Last night while my Aunty was frantically searching Manchester for my friend and her cousin, a MUSLIM taxi driver took her to find them
@Burhan_Saeed10 our muslim taxi driver directed us to a safe place and said he would never have Left us, he waited till we could get to him
Good Samaritan drives his taxi for free throughout the night in Manchester. That's the Sikh spirit.
Other Muslim residents of the city offered up their homes to those who could not get home, as part of the #roomsformanchester campaign that took place over Twitter that night. Muslim organizations have also set up charities to raise funds to help victims of the attacks. Earlier this evening, the Ramadan Foundation, a Manchester- based Muslim community organization, held a multi-faith vigil to remember victims and send a message of unity against terrorism.
Muslims suffer disproportionately from terrorist attacks. Globally, most victims of terrorism identify as Muslim. Extremist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda have killed tens of thousands of Muslims, and displaced many more. Muslims are persecuted for their faith in many parts of the world, particularly in South and Southeast Asia.
For Muslims living in Western countries, every attack usually triggers increases of Islamophobic acts in their communities, often violent ones. Manchester’s quarter million-strong Muslim population is already fearing reprisal attacks, and there have already been reports of hate crimes and an arson on a mosque in the Manchester area over the last two days.
Such violence is not limited to the aftermath of terrorist attacks. According to the Huffington Post’s Islamophobia Project, there have been almost 400 anti-Muslim acts in the US in 2016 alone. Sikhs have also faced discrimination and hate crimes, as they are often mistaken for Muslims. Other minorities, including Christians, have also been targeted in this way. Even when not threatened, Muslims often face societal pressure to apologize for terrorist attacks, as if their religion automatically implicates them as terrorist co-conspirators.
Despite the fear of backlash, Muslims communities have always been at the forefront of responding to terrorist attacks and other hateful acts, even if they were not the ones targeted. For example, when vandals destroyed a Jewish cemetery in a spate of hate crimes following President Trump’s electoral victory, it was a Muslim organization that raised funds and help to fix the damage.
Since 2015, Europe and the US have suffered about 20 separate attacks tied to extremist organizations, claiming about 400 lives. The horrifying tragedy of such attacks is exacerbated only by the mindless Islamophobic reprisals that follow them. Though both sets of heinous acts represent the worst of our society, they have not fulfilled their goal of destroying Western society as we know it. Heroic actions, such as those by individuals in Manchester on Monday night, are a significant reason why.