Why a Briton changed her mind on Muslims


by Newswire    
6:03 pm - January 23rd 2013

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This letter sent to ThisisLeicestershire.co.uk was brought to our attention by a reader.

It’s a nice read and worth highlighting, we thought.

(An open letter to the community of the Masjid Umar mosque in Evington Road, Leicester).

I want to thank your community for the most amazing selfless act that happened on Friday night – it has truly moved me and has changed my attitude and I am feeling very humble today. Let me explain why.

Along with most of Leicester, I was crawling home at a snail’s pace and was facing the long hill of Evington Road. What I saw in front of me was truly wonderful.

There were many Muslim men, wrapped up and facing icy winds and freezing temperatures, stopping the traffic to guide cars out of side roads, to make sure the traffic flowed and pushing the more modern computerised cars up the hill.

They were putting themselves in front of heavy vehicles that could have slid and crushed them – still they carried on.

I knew my old car would make it – no computer to tell it not to.

I chugged up the hill, but also saw your men pushing the less able and the whole event really opened both my eyes and my heart.

It didn’t matter who was in these cars – black, white, any creed and any colour, all were assisted, without any prejudice.

At 52, I have grown up with prejudice in my heart.

My cousin was blown up in a market in Afghanistan, serving his Queen and country, so my prejudice was strengthened even further.

A bit of snow and community spirit has changed my outlook on many things. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Annie Ward-Pearson, Leicester.

This is how you change hearts and minds.

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Reader comments


Clearly the key to better social cohesion is… more snow.

But really, this is a nice and welcome story. Well done chaps.

The phrase ‘snow job’ keeps popping into my head.

How about bigots stop being bigots?

People with different coloured skin shouldn’t have to be saints in order to be treated as human by others.

the truth is. muslims and non muslims will never get on,there is to much of a religious divide not only in the uk but in other parts of the world,maybe if countrys like pakistan were more multi cultural and diverse with a large black and white community there then people could learn to respect each other cultures,pakistani is muslim a country of brown skinned residents who never come into contact with people from other races around the world,make pakistan more multi cultural then that could bridge the gap betreen muslims and non muslims.

5. Chaise Guevara

@ 3 T Coles

“How about bigots stop being bigots?

People with different coloured skin shouldn’t have to be saints in order to be treated as human by others.”

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. There are problems in the world, and attempts to solve them are commendable. You don’t get anywhere just by complaining that the problem shouldn’t exist to begin with.

“pakistani is muslim a country of brown skinned residents who never come into contact with people from other races around the world”

You don’t know the first thing about Pakistan do you?

Yes Stuart. Let’s airlift a load of people from Huddersfield and Addis Ababa into Kabul and let the Pakistani’s get their mixing on. Strict Shaira law tells people to accept other religions and cultures and let them abide by their own shaira. Dont let your ignorance imply theirs

bi bi, Kabul is in Afghanistan.

Stuart is a little over the top with his comments. Unfortunately for you not everyone falls neatly into two categories where all of their members are exactly the same. There are plenty of Muslims who get on with other people. You can’t judge a large group on a relatively small number of examples.

You might be right that if Muslim countries such as Pakistan were more multi-cultural then there would be a greater acceptance. However there are already around 6 million Hindus and Christians in the country so it is clear that despite obvious problems not every Muslim Pakistani has a problem with them.

9. Truth's spokesperson 551000

So, just like anyone would, some Muslims pushed some cars up a road Islam is now TRULY as cute, cuddly, tolerant and open as we’ve been forcibly told it is since 9/11?

Nice to know.

I know nothing of the specific incident, but this sort of thing happens all the time when people are in difficulty but are not at each other’s throats. What this shows is that actions and basic humanity are, and should be, more important than ideology of any kind. That’s worth remembering.

Decent people anywhere, anytime, have more in common with each other than with any type of zealot.

I’m struck by the number of posts about Muslims on Liberal Conspiracy. It surely means something. Isn’t Britain a country of Christian -and secular- traditions? What would it be if Muslims were a majority? Well, I’m afraid there wouldn’t be much space for liberal forums or blogs then.
As a former Dutch (liberal) minister once said: Islamic intolerance has put Dutch tolerance under strain. The same is happening in the UK and everywhere across Europe.
Like many, I’m getting sick and tired of that Islamophilia, particularly strange in progressive circles.

This is how you change hearts and minds.

I have to disagree. The letter sounds terribly patronising. If someone had written that about the Irish, Polish, or any other social or ethnic group I’d laugh.
And in a way it actually shows up divisions and differences. Those people helping people in the snow were acting as a distinct community who are close to each other in a way that they aren’t with the rest of the population.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that particularly.

13. Chaise Guevara

@ 12 damon

“I have to disagree. The letter sounds terribly patronising. If someone had written that about the Irish, Polish, or any other social or ethnic group I’d laugh.”

As far as I’m aware, Irish and Polish people aren’t public hate figures like Muslims are. Irish Travellers maybe. So leaping to their defence would be like going on a rant about how women shouldn’t have to stay in the kitchen, appropos of nothing.

Terrorist bombings by Irish Republican Army

1970′s – About 16 bombings on British targets killing 60+ people, injuring hundreds and causing extensive damages.

1980′s – About 6 bombings on British targets killing 36+ people, injuring over 150 and causing extensive damages.

1990′s – Over 20 bombings on British targets killing 12+ people, injuring hundreds and causing extensive damages to property.

2000 – 2001 – About 7 bombings on British targets injuring 8 people and causing extensive damages to property.

Now, what if the IRA were Muslims and not Catholic?

@12 Chaise Guevara.
Are muslims ”public hate figures”?
There is certainly some prejudice in the press, but you can’t lay it all at that door and suggest that if only the media laid off that everything would be fine.
Prejudice exists for all kinds of reasons, and not only because of ignorance. Sometimes it can come from close association too. I spent December in Egypt. Egyptians are a different kind of people to the British. That’s not some kind of ”bias” I picked up through the media, but spending a month in the company of Egyptians. It can be tough being a white European there sometimes, as they don’t do the multi-cultural thing like we try to in Europe and the west. As a white foreigner, you can only be that. You are an outsider.
I don’t dislike Egyptians or anything. I found many of them to be quite nice and often charming. But they are different because it’s a different culture. As Pakistan is to Britain also. It is vastly different and you can’t just say they’re the same thing more or less (Britain and Pakistan).

So when large numbers of Pakistanis (or Egyptians) come to a place like the UK, there are bound to be some areas where things don’t work wonderfully.
And there is bound to be some prejudice from the ”host” society.
Particularly when the new community are somewhat insular and practice ”strange” customs and lifestyles. I’m in Tel Aviv right now, and just yesterday I noticed some of the ”sectarian” differences that exist between Jewish and Muslim Israelis. They live apart very often, and the bit I was walking in yesterday in Jaffa is very Arab. They tend to do their own thing, seperate from Jews. And while they mix on some levels, there is also a seperateness just like I saw in Belfast between Protestants and Catholics. It’s not just a case of people getting to know each other better, as there are real political and cultural divisions between people also often. Like in Israel and like in Northern Ireland.

And like in Leeds, Birmingham and London too I would say. But in different ways. It’s actually all quite complex and subtle, and the OP (in my opinion) really just glossed over all that to make a good news story.

@ Stuart (#4)
It doesn’t matter how diverse the population of any region or nation is. The deciding factor is always what the attitude of the plurality group amongst the population is accepting and tolerant of the others. If diversity = tolerance then Malaysia (and Pakistan, which *is* culturally and ethnically very diverse) would be a bastion of harmony and progress.

17. Chaise Guevara

@ Damon

Regardless of the reasons for the prejudice, the prejudice exists. It’s an interesting topic of its own right, but it’s irrelevant to my point here: Muslims are singled out for praise precisely because they’re also singled out for condemnation.

Muslims are singled out for praise precisely because they’re also singled out for condemnation.

I agree with that bit. That’s why I called it patronising. It’s the same when you get the stories in the papers about how great it is to see Muslim people out collecting for Remembrance Day.
They are usually from the Ahmadi community, and aren’t ”mainstream” everyday Muslims, but not many people know the difference.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-20109337

19. Infidel Truth Teller

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2563/the_storm_is_just_beginning

The storm is just beginning
European countries with sizeable Muslim populations would do well to be cautious in the face of an Islamist backlash

20. Infidel Truth Teller 101

The storm is just beginning
European countries with sizeable Muslim populations would do well to be cautious in the face of an Islamist backlash

http://www.thecommentator.com/article/2563/the_storm_is_just_beginning

21. Truth Spokesman 3ff45551000000

http://www.islingtontribune.com/news/2012/jan/islington-girls-forced-marriage-age-nine

WHERE…..IS……YOUR……STORY?? Fucking ‘Liberals’!

Islington girls forced into marriage at the age of nine

Girls are married off to family friends or family members to stop them from losing their virginity to anyone not chosen by their father.

In most cases, the children fear they will be killed if they reveal the truth to anybody,

“They are still expected to carry out their wifely duties, though, and that includes sleeping with their husband,” she said.

“They have to cook for them, wash their clothes, everything. They are still attending schools in Islington, struggling to do their primary school homework, and at the same time being practically raped by a middle-aged man regularly and being abused by their families. So they are a wife, but in a primary school uniform.


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