I was browsing through Tumblr the other day and came across an article that caught my interest – “London Man Who Asked Muslim Woman to “Explain” Brussels Terror Attacks Arrested“. Apparently the man in question had released a tweet stating “I confronted a Muslim women (I believed he meant ‘woman’) yesterday in Croydon. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said “Nothing to do with me”. A mealy mouthed reply.”
The original tweet:
(By the way, in case you didn’t know, “mealy mouthed” is defined as “afraid to speak frankly or straightforwardly”.)
This tweet is a clear demonstration of a person being blatantly racist. It also shows ignites the issue of how important it is not to generalize a race, ethnicity, gender, and more generally a group of people. By blaming a Muslim woman for the actions of ISIS, this man, Matthew P. Doyle, is so quick to generalize and associate ISIL with Muslims and Islam. In reality, ISIS is not a representation of Islam or Islamic beliefs. According to this article, “Even from the viewpoint of a casual observer, ISIS is an abomination to Islam.” Another excellent quote from the article states,
“But ISIS clearly has little regard for this or other fundamental tenets of Islam. They have sparked the rage of Iraqi Muslims by carelessly blowing up copies of the Qur’an, and they have killed their fellow Muslims, be they Sunni or Shia. Even extremist Muslims who engage in warfare have strict rules of engagement and prohibitions against harming women and children, but ISIS has opted to ignore even this by slaughtering innocent youth and using rape and sexual slavery as a weapon.”
However, while this tweet is disheartening, the internet’s response to it was nothing short of brilliant. People decided to respond to the tweet in a similar fashion that highlighted exactly what was wrong with Matthew’s statement.
A few of my favorites:
I truly love how sometimes the internet can come together to confront a statement of hate and ignorance.
Mr Lee Jasper’s response is especially accurate and hits home. I feel as though “White history” tends to brush aside and attempt to “forget” about slavery and their role in it. By using the exact same wording but by having the “White woman” in the wrong, Mr Lee Jasper is forcing Matthew and White people to confront their past and confront any negative stereotypes or generalizations they may have about Muslims and Islam. Just as you can’t blame any White person for slavery, you cannot think to blame any Muslim for Islam – it simply doesn’t make sense.
The same, I think, can be said about the KKK – a group known for its White supremacy and hate crimes against people of color. To even further the similarities, the KKK is claims itself as being a “Christian organization” – just as ISIS claims to be “Islamic.” Through a quick search on google, I was able to find a website called the “White Camelia Knights of the Ku Klax Klan” where they identify as being Christian. But honestly, I felt sick reading the messages of hate and ignorance on this website and for that reason refuse to link back to it. However, you get the idea – the average Christian would in no way identify themselves as having any association with a hate group such as the KKK, just as the average Muslim would never think of ISIS as being associated with the Islamic faith.
Matthew attempted to backpedal and rebuke his tweet through a series of other tweets, but did so rather unsuccessfully. One of the worst of these says:
What a man of compassion right?
But if you read the original article I link at the front of this post, you’ll see that Matthew was later arrested in London for “on suspicion of inciting racial hatred”, which is pretty great.
It’s interesting how social media can be used in so many ways – to spew racism and to fight against it. Just as Matthew revealed his ignorance, a storm of people were quick to use the same platform, Twitter, to rebut it. In a similar fashion, I showed this article to my mom and her first thought was to share it on Facebook to her hundreds of friends. All of this was done through social media, and even by simply sharing it on Facebook, she played a part in spreading a message.