Where The Sun front page, and editorial fail, my initial skepticism is reassured by Sara Khan who delivers on how to challenge extremists.
Right now Britain and about 60 countries are committed to undermining ISIS. Fascists that use religious nationalism to bring Sunni Muslims together under a caliphate. It includes flag waving, and demanding that all muslims of various sects unite.
With that in mind The Sun front page stood out:
A right wing tabloid uses religious nationalism to bring all people of faith together as one nation. It includes a cut out flag (Page 3), and demanding that all people of faith unite.
Strength through unity. Unity through faith.
The blood runs cold, that the answer to fanatical religious nationalism is religious nationalism lite. That such an image concept, that has caused such misery in the world, might serve to combat extremism is insulting to those that think about it’s execution. Those of no faith appear to have nothing to say about fighting religious extremism, according to the blurb.
However, open the paper and a different story emerges. The editorial begins:
THE Sun today calls on Britain to unite against the murderers of Islamic State.
Whatever your faith — or if you have none — you can help crush the greatest evil of modern times.
The arrest of a suspected IS terror cell in the UK and the slaughter of aid worker Alan Henning show why we must stand together.
We must help snuff out the warped ideology of IS and stem the flow of Britons to its ranks.
Britain is a beacon of tolerance, a mainly Christian country that embraces all religions. IS seeks to destroy that unity by sowing the hatred that acts as its recruiting sergeant. We mustn’t let it happen.
Cheers for remembering us of no faith this time. But then the faux pas that we are mainly a Christian country. That does not bare scrutiny. A Christian Country destroying an Islamic State. That will make borderline radical Islamists stop in their tracks. Not.
We are mainly a no faith country, that embraces religious freedom for all including those of no faith. Equal citizenship is not a matter of religion, or your politics, or even whether you think we should be fighting this war or not. Here we celebrate freedom of speech, and freedom of expression.
The young woman on the front page could choose to wear the hijab. Under ISIS, the Niqab is mandatory with armed thugs demanding women keep their faces covered. The celebration in the UK is not our faith, but our ability to live voluntarily by our conscience in matters of belief. We may manifest our right to religious expression and identity. As equally, we may denounce religion. Free speech – it lets you speak out against hate.
Thank goodness for Sarah Khan, director of Inspire, saving the day in the paper:
People of a non-Muslim faith can help in this fight against IS by stamping out hate as a whole. IS plays into the fears that some people have about the Muslim faith and burn the bridges within our society.
If we respond by promoting hate to each other we are letting them win. They want Muslims to feel marginalised so they will want to join their twisted cause.
We need to say we’re not going to allow you to destroy us and we say that by not tolerating hatred or violence to anyone.
The common theme here is to make a stand against any hatred or extremism. It’s not what it means to be British.
Exactly what this blog stands for.
The aim of #makingastand are worth supporting:
Through #makingastand we commit ourselves to rejecting terrorism and violence practised in the name of Islam. Together we will:
Challenge hatred and extremism wherever we find it.
Exert influence in our Mosques and communities.
Create local support networks and partner with statutory agencies.
Equip our communities with counter-narratives and help families identify the signs of radicalisation.
Spread the word with the use of the #makingastand campaign.
If you follow the link above you will see a familiar image. The blurb next to it this time brings out a positive image of challenging extermisim.
Sara Khan and Inspire have been given a huge platform. Please help to support, and take action.
Ok I still hate The Sun, and considering it’s past headlines this may strike some as insincere. But Iram Ramzan is right when she says the front page does grab your attention despite it’s flaws. The counter narrative just went public in the best selling tabloid newspaper against religious extremists and the far right.
That in itself is cause for some optimism, in the tabloids wobbled first steps on the issue.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog