This week, a teenager was fined £100 for posting offensive ‘Gay Free Zone’ posters in the diverse London Borough of Tower Hamlets.
Of course, you only need to catch a glimpse of a story like this before cringing at what’s to come next. It’s so predictable: Of course, he was Muslim. And the posters used words from our beloved Quran to justify such an act of hatred.
This story made my blood boil for different reasons. Firstly, in the same way terrorists do, this prat just slandered the name of millions of innocent Muslims all over the world, by having the arrogance to speak for the rest of us. Whatever is, or isn’t, a sin in Islam, does that give us Muslims the right to spread hatred about people who simply choose not to live their lives like we do within Islam? Of course not……any peaceful Muslim knows this, and also knows (more importantly) that it is for Allah only to judge, and we should certainly address our own weaknesses before attacking others.
But what irritated me more about what this numbskull did was the hypocrisy of it. Tower Hamlets is a Borough of huge diversity, one which has traditionally welcomed Muslim communities, but has recently been threatened by the English Defence League. Muslims living in the area, quite rightly, expect to have their families and Mosques protected, yet this guy goes and commits exactly the same sort of prejudiced, mindless, hateful act toward another vulnerable, persecuted group.
Unfortunately, this backward mindset seems to be not uncommon. Whether we agree with how others live their lives or not, isn’t it more important to encourage tolerance? Isn’t that what we’re constantly battling for? Or is it one rule for them and another for us? Yes, Allah is certainly severe in punishment, but He also loves the oppressed and punishes the oppressor. And the actions of this teen were typical bully tactics which ultimately lead to oppression.
Instead of focusing on our differences and making judgements we have no right to pass, wouldn’t it instead be more productive to work together to bring an end to prejudice, hatred, and fear?
A £100 fine doesn’t seem much considering what these posters symbolised, but I sincerely hope that this young man grows up to realise his mistake and puts his time to better use for Islam.