In the early hours of this morning, someone tried to burn down the Masjid-E-Noor mosque in Ryecroft Street, Gloucester. CCTV footage shows someone pouring petrol onto the front door before lighting a rag to ignite the fire.
This is just one of a recent spate of anti-Islam (Muslim?) attacks that have occurred since the tragic murder of Lee Rigby.
In reaction to these attacks the liberal left have gone on what I refer to as the, “we are all the same” offensive. Owen Jones writing in the Independent illustrates this phenomenon by stating: “83 per cent of Muslims are proud to be British…compared to 79% of the British public” – a gallant effort to highlight the ludicrousness of the EDL’s arguments.
I think something slightly more nuanced than this though.
I don’t really share many nationalistic sentiments, with the right or the left. Why would I? What have I got in common with someone from Glasgow, or Gilford, or even Glandyfi?
In contrast however, what do I have in common with someone from Gloucester? Well, quite a lot now you come to mention it…and yes, I do take it personally when an arson attack occurs in Gloucester.
The good people of Gloucester and I, we share a lot. We probably share friends, favourite places to eat, bus routes, schools, hospitals and everything else that makes a community. And yes, despite being a de facto atheist our friends and family will share places of worship.
So when a man approaches the mosque with petrol and matches in hand, he isn’t just approaching a place of worship that is special to hundreds of Gloucester residents. He is wading through the centre of my community. He is lighting a fire under something that I hold very close to me.
The vibrant Muslim community in Gloucester is part of what makes the city what it is. The Masjid-E-Noor mosque has been part of this city for generations. People have been worshiping in the mosque since 1974 and at the site even longer. An arson attack on the mosque is like burning a hole in the patchwork rug of Gloucester.
This arson attack, on my local mosque, is no different to trying to burn down my neighbour’s house. It’s fucking with people that are close to me, and the metaphorical flames of hatred might burn down something that I deeply care about – the diverse tolerant multicultural ambiance of my home town, Gloucester.
You can sign a letter to Yakub Patel and the congregation of the Masjid-e-Noor mosque on the hope not hate website – here.