Muslims can grieve for France without being made to feel guilty

Another attack in a western country brings the usual response on Twitter from certain parties along the lines of: you didn’t care about eighty Muslims killed in Kabul today so why should I care about one guy murdered in Rouen?

This kind of sentiment is intended to discourage us from putting a French flag on our Facebook page or re-tweeting calls to pray for the dead of Nice or Rouen. One tweet along these lines was also accompanied by a shot of French colonial soldiers in the early twentieth century holding the severed heads of Algerians as if that somehow validated the beheading of an elderly French priest in Rouen. A kind of historical payback!

What these tweets do is drive an intentional wedge between Muslims and their fellow Europeans – which is of course all part of the long-term Islamist agenda.

Extremists hate to see Muslims standing under a European flag in unity and sympathy for the dead of another terrorist atrocity. That undermines their victimhood narrative in which Muslims are despised by their neighbours and wider society. Any Muslims that do condemn attacks in Europe are sneered at as “House Muslims” and “native informants”.

This social media content is meat to the Far Right. It allows them to portray Muslims in a very negative light. And it simply doesn’t reflect the truth of how most Muslims feel. The truck that ploughed into crowds in Nice horrified nearly all of us - and let’s remember that Muslims also died in that insane and appalling attack. The point is not to ignore Nice or Rouen but to mourn to the same degree we would the dead of Baghdad or Dhaka.

I will not be given an Islamist guilt trip for putting a French or German flag on my profile. And by doing so – I am not betraying the dead of Iraq or Bangladesh. I am saying that the same perpetrators lie behind all these deeds and I condemn them with equal force.

Henna Rai