Picture this… a woman in a hijab travelling on the tube, walking along Westminster Bridge, through Parliament Square today. What kind of looks do you think she’s getting? What kind of welcome will she receive when she walks into work, boards the tube, or crosses the square?
The very fact that the picture at the head of my blog ever made it into papers/onto websites is a travesty, and a scandal. I would have thought it would be plain and simple to see that a photo without context shouldn’t be taken as truth at face value, clearly I was wrong…
The atmosphere around London today was very difficult describe. As I made my way about central London between meetings, there was a sense of calm, of serenity. Almost as if the people of London, too, are struggling to describe in their heads the events of yesterday, which is most probably the case.
Sadly, however, some have already made their conclusions. ISIS, Al-Qaeda, whoever, it’s their fault. And whether ISIS or Al-Qaeda or some group do lay claims to this attack, seeming to “prove” a select few people right. Whether they are right or not, they are very wrong in principle. Making the quick judgement, the quick assumption, this is wrong. In the wake of two attempts at travel bans, and now laptop bans from predominantly Muslim countries by the United States, this couldn’t be more poignant. Blanket assumptions, stereotyping, stigma is wrong in every other aspect of our society, so why not this one too?
So my prayer for today would be that God be with those suffering, directly or indirectly from yesterday’s events. That his tender compassion, peace and grace be with all those affected. I also pray that a message of diversity, of appreciation for others, of love, be with everyone who will hear, of any race, religion and culture.
Discrimination is not the answer, discrimination is never the answer. Welcome is the answer, welcome is always the answer. So go, go and preach love, not hate.
“The second is this, “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’”
Mark 12: 31 (New Revised Standard Version)
With every blessing,