Following Ugly Terror Attack, Manchester Rejects Blanket Islamophobia

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Police assist victim of Manchester terror attack. Photo Instagram.

Twenty-two are dead and 59 injured in Manchester after the terror attack on May 22.
The target for the latest terrorist attack on UK soil were young children attending an Ariana Grande concert.
Who in their right mind targets children? Understandably, the world at large was shocked, appalled, horrified and outraged. There is outpouring of grief, and rightly so.
Some years back, whilst I visited New York, we stumbled upon an Ariana Grande Concert on an evening out, and my eldest daughter, a teenager at the time, insisted that she must simply attend. My brother Milton, a New Yorker and newspaper publisher made some calls and managed to get her a ticket, so we left her at the concert and picked her up later. This could have been my own personal tragedy.
I can only imagine the acute and searing pain that the parents, families of the lost innocents must be going through. The youngest reported fatality is eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos from Leyland. Her mother and sister are being treated in hospital for their injuries and are unaware as yet of the demise of their beautiful Saffie. This is the reality of the ugly world we now live in. There is too much hate and intolerance in this world.
Yesterday, in the aftermath of the terror attack, The English Defense League, (EDL), which is a far-right protest movement focusing on opposition to what it considers to be a spread of Islamism and Sharia in the United Kingdom, took to the streets to spew hate against Islam and all the faithful. They should have been concerned with the suffering of the families that had lost their loved ones, instead The EDL chose to use this tragedy as an opportunity to spread their Islamophobic agenda. How so very insensitive. Terrorism and extremism does not equate to Islam. After all, the type of extremism that brought blood and terror to Manchester have also targeted people who truly embrace the Islamic faith elsewhere around the world. Unity is needed to defeat such hatred.
That's why Muslim taxi drivers and restaurant owners offered free services to the citizens of Manchester in a show of solidarity and rejection of the terror that had befallen their city.
The EDL failed in their attempt to spread fear, hate and division. Mancunians outnumbered in their counter protest, the members of the EDL. One man was heard saying, that "the people of Manchester do not stand with your xenophobia and racism. The people of Manchester are going to stick together no matter what religion you follow, what color your skin is, we are going to stick together because we are stronger together."
Premier Theresa May, said it is now beyond doubt, that the people of Manchester and of this country have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack. "An attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation."
The perpetrator has been identified as Salman Abedi the son of Libyan immigrants. The bigoted and ignorant took to social media to condemn Islam and Moslems for the carnage visited upon the citizenry of Manchester, forgetting that many a war and acts of terror have also been fought in the name of religion, other than Islam.
The Ku Klux Klan in America being a prime example, where Black people were lynched in the name of Christianity. Yet were they truly representative of Christian ideals? Of course not. All Christians must not be held responsible for the despicable, inhumane, inexcusable and indefensible acts of terror by extremists who have claimed to embrace Christianity in the past. Likewise we must reject painting Islam with a broad brush.
We must remember that extremism exists in all religions; and we must reject those who distort faith to mask their murderous agenda.
We pray for all the victims and their families; we mourn with Manchester and salute their courage to reject extremists including the EDL.

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Doris Allimadi is a U.K.-based writer and book author.

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