Posted in Columns and Letters

The killing of young Toyosi Shitta-bey is a tragic one, but it doesn’t have to be repeated. We at Glór Moslamach believe that prevention is better than the cure. Dealing with racism is a matter of education that the Irish State can facilitate, but also one that we as people can get involved in.

Fourteen hundred years ago, an African man climbed the Kabaa in Mecca and gave out the call to prayer as a victorious Muslim army stood in the sacred mosque. This man was one of the most important companions of the Prophet, our master Bilal from Ethopia. Upon seeing him on the Kabaa, one of the non-believers of Mecca stated: “Thank God my father died before seeing this sight.” Bilal went on to become the governor of Iraq, one of the highest ruling positions within the Caliphate of the Rashideen.

Fast-forward to the mid-20th century, and African-Americans were being denied available treatment for syphilis so that the autopsies of their corpses could demonstrate how the disease progressed and affected different parts of the human body. You can read all about it by searching online for the ‘Tuskegee experiment’.

In light of this, what do you say to the arrogance and ignorance of some in the west who think we should adopt the norms of the western culture in order to prove that we have integrated? It is amazing that when people play with the sentiments of Muslims, and even go to the extreme of insulting our Prophet Muhammad, we are told by some to ‘chill out’ and ‘take it easy’, but when we make fun of ideas such as integration we are portrayed as extremists.

Only recently we’ve read reports that France had been outraged at a man who had been photographed wiping his bottom with a French flag. Whatever happened to freedom of expression in this case? This hypocrisy is most amusing, and an interesting study into the mindset of bigots. Instead of sensationalising issues which only serve to create disharmony – and sell more newspapers – the real issues should be discussed without assumption of superiority on the part of any side.

We can start by discussing  how the countless messages against immigrants on online political forums create an environment of hostility towards immigrants in real life. We could also have a public discussion about the recent MRCI pamphlet on ‘hidden messages and overt agendas’. But from past experience, we don’t think there will be any public discussion on any of these serious issues. So immigrants will continue to face countless problems in Ireland today with no one to turn to for help.

In Islam, all Muslims are brothers and sisters; they are regarded as one body, united in their belief and worship of Allah. There is no nationalism or divisions of race in Islam. The Prophet, peace be upon him, conveyed to Muslims that each should enquire about their neighbour’s welfare. If we all did this, then the old and weak, the Africans and the eastern Europeans in Ireland would be looked out for and not preyed upon. Instead of engaging in petty name-calling, we should address the concerns that we have in our community.

The effects of the teachings of Islam can be seen when King Ferdinand II expelled more than 200,000 Jews from Spain in the late 15th century. Sultan Bayazit of the Ottoman Caliphate of that time welcomed them, and is known to have asked: “How can you call Ferdinand of Aragon a wise king, the same Ferdinand who impoverished his own land and enriched ours?”

One Comment

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    One of the murderers of Tayosi named Paul Barry was arrested for racist physical assault against an African man and his son as reported by the Irish Independent on 19/05/2001. The accused accomplice to murder Michael Barry was acquitted in 2012.