Another night, another horror. It seems this time that a white van man thought a mosque attack would be justifiable satisfaction for the Islamist attacks on Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge. Ploughing into Muslims outside Finsbury Park Mosque as they finished their Tarawih prayers during Ramadan, the terrorist is reported to have screamed, “I want to kill all Muslims.” And he did manage to kill one in the name of unholy vengeance – an eye for an eye; measure for malevolent measure.
There are some who won’t be able to bring themselves to classify an attack on innocent Muslims outside a mosque as quite the same thing as the recent onslaughts against children at a pop concert, tourists on a bridge or lovers in restaurants and bars, but it is the selfsame, and arguably worse. These Muslims were British Londoners going about their daily acts of worship: the dead and injured were not a randomly targeted crowd of unknown faiths and feelings, but a worshipping group expressly selected for their religious beliefs. Some might call it ‘Islamophobia’: it is, in fact, Islamomisia – it is hatred, not fear.
Those Islamists who murder and maim might call themselves and be honoured as martyrs for the cause of Mohammed, and certainly, to blow oneself to Jannah in the hope of eternal carnal pleasure must take great courage. But these are savage agents of a subversive evil: their cause is more political than religious, and no true martyr actively designs and engineers their own death. The victims of the London mosque attack had just been reciting the Qur’an and performing their rakats, and then, out of nowhere, white van man ploughed into them – just because they were Muslims. To be killed for one’s faith is indeed to be martyred: to murder people for their faith is an attack on the fundamental freedom of religion.
Islam is ‘submission’. You may not like what some of them submit to, but in this country they are free to surrender themselves to whatever apprehension of God they choose, provided it accords with the essential precepts of the established social contract. Religion in the sight of Allah is Islam, and Muslims are at liberty to surrender themselves to Allah and proclaim their Five Pillars and the supremacy of their prophet to their devotional heart’s content. They are people of faith, and that faith in its supremest and greatest beauty is an account of love, of prayer, charity, fasting and pilgrimage. But we choose to see only the ugly parts. They don’t all want to raise the flag of Islam over No.10 and Buckingham Palace to establish the eschatological Caliphate: millions of British Muslims are more than content to eat, work, love and pray in their holy places of prostration. Anyone who seeks to malign Muslims because they are Muslims has no grasp of Christ’s exhortation to love our neighbour. And anyone who seeks to kill Muslims because they are Muslims murders us all.