An open letter to the Prime Minister: I fear for my children as much as yours.
Like millions of us, I know you will be reeling after the horrific attacks in Paris. How can anyone with an ounce of humanity not feel compassion, grief and solidarity with the innocent victims and their loved ones?
I hope you will take a brief moment to pause before you take any action. Take a minute to listen to an English Muslim woman speak about how millions of Muslims including my family and me, stand side-by-side with you wanting justice and our enemies caught.
The people who have claimed responsibility for this atrocity are Daesh (Isis by their name). Daesh hate me and they hate you. They would like to slit my throat just as much as they would want to do the same to the person next to me. They hate us all. Especially moderate Muslims who dare to expose them for the charlatans that they are. They want to eliminate us all. They do not discriminate when it comes to their enemies. They hate our neighbours, our families, our friends and our way of life. They live and die consumed by a hatred I hope I never experience. The language they use, the tools they deploy, all form into a twisted ideology that is pure evil.
Let’s be clear. We are at war. We are faced with an enemy that wants to destroy us. That wants to use our children, our neighbours, and our country against us. It wants to divide and rule, to sow seeds of mistrust and fear, to threaten and to fight each other.
That is their world and one they want to populate across our secular, progressive and free nations.
My 24-year-old son said: “That could have been us, at a concert. I read this guy’s account who was in the audience saying how the gunmen lined people up and shot then one by one.” He went quiet and shook his head. He continued with irony: “It’s going to be fun to be brown now. People are already a bit twitchy and now it’s going to get much worse. I’m going to have to shave fully.’ On Daesh, he said: ‘These people use children as child soldiers to blow themselves up. They are sick.”
He is right. These soulless people groom and exploit children until they are lost. They intimidate them, brutalise them by exposing them to violence, then use their bodies as human bombs. The children and young people who get trapped by Daesh are victims too.
What is a 15-year-old child but a collection of raging hormones and growth spurts? To turn a child into a ticking time-bomb shows us the depravity of the enemy we face. Like millions of Muslims, I fear for my children as much as yours. I fear these perpetrators of violence who want to turn them into child soldiers, against their own families and countries. We need to protect our young people who are vulnerable from clicks on a keyboard. They want to turn our children against us and we must not allow them access to our future.
This is my home. I am an English woman through and through. My family pass the Tebbit test. Tea is our favourite household beverage and in quintessential English style, we put the kettle on in moment of crisis. That’s the English way. That’s our way. We are one nation and I will fight for my country, our country and all I love of it.
Listen and work with the moderate Muslims who are often the silent majority. Listen to why many like me will not be silent when our ‘allies’ claim cultural or religious leverage about atrocities in their own countries.
We all must speak out when secular bloggers and journalists are killed in Bangladesh and the state turns a blind eye, or when Saudi Arabia sentences 17-year-olds to medieval sentences that include beheading and crucifixion. We need to open up debate about free speech, human rights and tolerance. Don’t do what Daesh want and close the airways down. Come out and hear why I fear for our young sons and daughters being radicalised by men in combat gear, speaking from distance lands about a proxy war, of naïve and foolish people being seduced by a false sense of belonging and kinhood. Listen to the families that have lost their children and mourn for them to come home, many sold falsehoods and tales about brotherhood in their Prophet’s image.
The reality is that they are brutalising Muslim and non-Muslim children, young people, women, men and old people. These perpetrators are animals and not one Muslim I know supports them or their heinous ideology.
I implore you to consider this before you make any decisions that may be reactive rather then responsive. We need you to unite our beloved country. Build on our strong history as a nation of tolerance, fortitude and courage. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder. The pen is mightier then the sword and in the spirit of the French, I wish you liberty, equality and fraternity.