So I logged onto Twitter a little while ago and saw that #PunishAMuslimDay is amongst the most trending hashtags…weird, must be some bizarre belated April Fool’s prank?
I’ve literally heard nothing about this ‘movement’ up until about an hour ago. So I proceeded to message a few of my friends and family asking if they knew about this #PunishAMuslimDay and unfortunately they did. Right, so this isn’t a prank, it’s actually happening. Wow.
Apparently a malicious advert has been circulated across London and other cities around the UK, advocating a point-based system with ‘rewards’ for recipients who hurl verbal abuse at Muslims today. ‘Points’ will be given to those who succeed in yanking off a woman’s hijab or head-scarf, to those who physically assault Muslims in the street and of course bonus points for acid-throwing. Ding ding ding!
The Met Police says that it’s aware of the hate crime campaign and has received physical copies of the original letter, which is also being circulated via Whatsapp, but they have no clue as to who’s behind it all.
They’ve asked Muslim communities to unite in the face of this Islamaphobic threat…well duh! What else are they going to do? Clearly they can’t count on the police to make them feel safe and at ease right now. British Muslim women have even been advised not to drop their kids off to school today and to stay indoors if possible and hide their hijabs…but where’s the justice in that? Instead of making innocent people cower in their homes all day, why not make it known that anyone even thinking of carrying out such barbaric acts will be severely punished!
And to those who are actually thinking of following the instructions on this letter, just out of curiosity, how exactly do you plan on deciding whether or not someone is Muslim? Will you be searching for people with brown skin? Because that’s not necessarily synonymous with Islam buddy. Neither are beards and turbans exclusive to Muslims…so yeah, good luck with that. I guess all non-whites should take the day off and stay home today then, just in case!
To counter this whole thing, I’ve also seen people advocating for today to be known as Love a Muslim Day instead. Now I get what the intention was behind this notion, spread love not hate etc, but at the end of the day this sentiment still isolates Muslims from ‘everyone else’ and makes it seem like they’re ‘the other’.
Why should all Muslims have to justify that they’re good and kind people just because of a few bad apples (which exist in all communities by the way!). For most of them this is the only home they’ve ever known, they’re just as British as you are Dave and John, they just have a natural glowing tan that you guys pay good money to imitate #SorryNotSorry.
And another thing…why is Twitter even allowing this hashtag to be trending on its platform?! I blame a lot of this normalisation of racism on Donald Trump. I’m sure I read somewhere that there has been a steep rise in acts of racist hate crime in the US since he took office. All the (once closet) racists think that it’s ok to now roam the streets and share what’s on their minds, but it’s not ok. Get back in your hole.
Ok fine, let’s say that we give the bigots today to be as Islamaphobic as they like. Does that mean that as of 4th April 2018 anti-Muslim hate will be ruled out forever and all Muslims will be allowed to live in peace? If yes, then great, I’m sure I can speak on behalf of the entire Muslim community when I say that they’ll be more than happy to sacrifice 24 hours of their lives to watch Netflix from the comfort of their homes. But if that’s not part of the deal, then there’s absolutely no need for this #PunishAMuslimDay to be entertained. Next we’ll be hearing that an annual Purge day is being sanctioned…enough of this madness!