Our Founder, Muhbeen Hussain, was invited to speak at a memorial service for the three victims of the Chapel Hill Shooting on Saturday 21st February 2015. This is a written copy of his speech:
Firstly let me start by thanking not only the organisers of today’s event but for each and everyone one of you in attendance here. We all know the mainstream media and the status quo have tried their utmost in deliberately trying to disregard and inadvertently neglect the horrific murders of Chapel Hill. However, today’s memorial demonstrates to the mainstream media that no matter how hard they try, we will make sure the legacy of Deah, Yusor and Razan will be made known. Despite the media’s negligible coverage of this crime, it has been people like you, from the four corners of the world, that have helped lighten the darkened skies with the messages of these three champions that have sadly left this world. One cannot begin to imagine how difficult it is for the friends and family of the victims at this moment in time. However, what you and people around the world have done is show the family that although the three champions have gone from them, they have entered the hearts of millions around the world as beacons of hope and inspiration.
Many before me have shed great light upon the details of this horrific incident; the onset of this is very clearly a brutal hate crime. Beyond belief was that much of the American media was somehow debating whether it was in fact a hate crime or a dispute over parking. Consequently, there are some underlying messages that we can take from this incident and that’s what I shall focus upon. Standing here outside Downing Street, if only there was a cabinet meeting today. Mr Cameron, Eric Pickles (communities Minister) and Theresa May (Home Secretary) could have benefited from listening to my next few words. For if they are serious about ending the radicalisation of young people – then ending the vast majority of radicalisation is not in holding cobra meetings or in sending over a 1000 letters to imams up and down the country; neither is it in bringing in draconian anti-terror legislation that does nothing but snoop on and alienate these young people further. But it is in ending these double standards!
And this message is not purely just for the Government. This message is to address each and every one of those out there who have a role to play and this is why I particularly call upon the journalists of today. Those journalists that saw there was a need for them to speak out in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy, well there is also a need for you today. Time has come for you to decide, whether you will continue to be strangled by the chains of capitalism; your editors or the likes of Rupert Murdoch and the media barons that will do anything to sell a paper – even if that means turning neighbour against neighbour; even if that means fostering an atmosphere similar to that of 1930s Germany, where one community is linked, vilified and scapegoat for the ills of a nation, or as in today’s times, even the world. Or you can stand up, wrestle out of those chains, and use the freedom of press to report the truth equally. We need you to report that the blood of Muslim is worth the same as everyone else. Now is the time for you to make known to the world that anti-Muslim bigotry is real and is a stain on all our houses. Play your role, stand up and speak up for the voiceless; pay your dues as the bastions of freedom, and the forth pillar of our democracy.
If these murders had been committed by someone claiming to be a Muslim, then the BBC, Sky News CNN, Fox News and the mainstream media would have made a celebration in maligning the acts with their beliefs. But let me make it loud and clear that I shall not conform to these acts of double standard in attempting to defeat the very double standards I despise. I don’t believe these murders were committed by an Atheist fanatic terrorist whose hatred towards believers was motivated by his lack of faith, but rather that he is merely a fanatic. What made this man commit such savage crimes against humanity was nothing to do with the beliefs he may claimed to have had, but it was all to do with fanaticism, terrorism and extremism. And therefore wherever fanaticism, extremism and terrorism rears its ugly head – we must also raise up against it! Whilst looking at the last few weeks alone; whether it is terrorism in the streets of Paris or Copenhagen against our Jewish brothers and sisters, or whether it is the 21 Coptic Egyptian Christians slaughtered in Libya by the monstrosity that is ISIS. We must collectively stand against it, not as Muslims or as Jewish people nor as people of faith or none, but as people of humanity and people of this world. So let this be the most unequivocal message today: be it Craig Stephen Hicks the murderer of Chapel Hill, be it Andres Brevik or be it Abu-Bakr-Al-Baghdadi and his men – anybody believing, promoting, inciting fanaticism, extremism and terrorism has no place in this world. And neither does any type of hate speech or act. We will not allow any type of Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any other type of hate to take hold. To those who wish to divide us and seek bloodshed and murder, we will stand up to you and we will defeat you. Our belief in the values and ideals we cherish and hold so dear is stronger than yours and so it is unbreakable.
Only if we stand together hand-in-hand can we truly make the world a better place. Then finally we can live in the world we yearn to live in – because I want to live in a world in which, the death of a Muslim is mourned and remembered by a non-Muslim. I want to live in a world in which the death of a Jew is mourned and remembered by a non-Jew. A world in which, the death of a person of one faith is remembered by a person of another. Where the struggle of black people is fought for by white people; where the emancipation of women is led by men; where the war against poverty, hunger and thirst is waged by rich and powerful people. A world in which we stand by the meanings of humanity, dignity, love, peace and harmony!