Respuesta de un musulmán a los 25.000 manifestantes anti Islam en Dresden

By Rabah Kherbane

Dear 25,000 anti-Islam protesters from Dresden and Pegida

I hear that thousands have gone against my religion. Last week, and last month. They have marched against immigrants, foreigners, and anyone with a darker tone. I will not express comparisons with Nazi Germany. I will not call them fanatics, I will not insult them. But we certainly have a problem.

They have marched with banners alleging that their city is full of Muslims. However 0.1% of Dresden is Muslim. They have marched on the grounds that immigrants are crowding their schools by having their children travel miles to get an education. However 2.5% of Dresden was born abroad.

They claim that Germany is being invaded by Muslims. However only 5% of the Germans are Muslim.

They march “against the Islamization of the West.” However, after a century of two World Wars, the process of decolonization, countless civil conflicts, foreign intervention, globalization, and more displacement, Muslims remain a marginalized minority in Europe. Less than 6%. A rather failed colonization process, right?

They have marched against refugees and asylum seekers, claiming that Germany is their objective to seek benefits and social security. However according to the UNHCR, there are more than 51.2 million refugees in the world. Germany is home to less than 0.01% of them. Is that asking too much? Is such a humanitarian obligation too great for the 1951 Refugee Convention that your government ratified? Or is it really a punishment, bearing in mind that for example in Lebanon one of four is a Syrian refugee?

Protesters are not alone. In my country, the UK, we have our own anti-immigration party. Ukip won his first seat at Clacton with nothing but anti-immigration rhetoric. However only 4.3% of Clacton are born abroad. In a parliamentary system where each district chooses its representative to express their point of view, there is nothing Ukip can do for the people of Clacton.

Do you see any pattern of behavior? Maybe I should explain. Your type tends to settle where the “problem” does not really exist. Is this then a case of negative perception? Fear of what is unfamiliar? Intolerance in ignorance? Making a scapegoat a lower class? Misinformation of the media?

I’ll work out. London has a 36.2% population born abroad. Relatively, it is 15 times the foreign population in Dresden. A much more varied diversity. Ukip gets the lowest number of votes in London compared to the rest of the country – in all demographic fields, foreign or not. London is a metropolis of brown, black and white people working side by side. We prospered. I saw an atheist today. Guess what? I did not try to convert him or decapitate him for blasphemy; I helped him get off the bus. He was 74 years old.

Makes sense?

Your only perception of Islam is a box in your living room. Prejudices and conflicts of ideas infest the information to which you are exposed. Information that dehumanizes and polarizes anyone but you.

You enjoy the narrative of the far right media about Islam. It makes you feel good. Higher. Best. Barbarian Muslims, we are. We do not respect women, we impose our belief on others.

However, did not you know that Turkey, Indonesia and Bangladesh, all Muslim-majority states, have tended to have more female heads of state than almost any other Western country? Did you know that the Qur’an says explicitly, “It is not permissible to force anyone to believe” [2: 256], and our prophet – may peace be upon him – clarified “whoever strikes a non-Muslim can not smell the fragrance of paradise” .

Did you know that your perverse distortion of my religion helps terrorists? Did you know that you and the terrorists agree on what seems to be an integral part of your identity: that Islam is violent? Did you know that you even use the same methodology to proclaim this; Using a verse out of context and avoiding any intellectual discourse?

What are Muslims to you? Arabs? Less than 20% of us are Arabs. Indians and Pakistanis? Again, less than 20%. Turks? Less than 5%. Nothing else? That’s more than half of us that you can not identify.

You assume our identity according to our race. Is not it disappointing to you that such a way of seeing the world is shared by so many people? Does not it show a perspective so restricted to prejudices? Is it not likely to lead to ignorant conjectures and offenses to what we do not know?

What then happens to the German Muslim? I wonder. Do you excuse yourself for being white? Or is he declared a traitor and away? Is it difficult to choose between racism and a compatriot? Do not choose any. Choose education. Tolerance. Goodness.

Separate yourself from the vicious circle of the extreme right-wing media (who are unfamiliar with foreigners) and feed the extreme right-wing population (who is unfamiliar with foreigners) with what they should think of foreigners.

I ask you, have you ever met a Muslim? “Found” is not synonymous with shouting some insult or stabbing him inside or outside his house. No, have you ever sat down with a Muslim? Talked to a Muslim? Worked with a Muslim?

You should. At an airport perhaps, where it is 42 times more likely to be reviewed, then be declared safe for human interaction.

Sincerely, an ordinary Muslim (not of the television)

Translated from an article in huffingtonpost.co.uk