Rabu 18 May 2016 21:59 WIB

How Sadiq Khan and London citizens fend Islamophobia

Rep: Rr Laeny Sulistywati/ Red: Julkifli Marbun
Ikhwanul Kiram Mashuri
Foto: Republika/Daan
Ikhwanul Kiram Mashuri

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, By: Ikhwanul Kiram Mashuri

Sadiq Khan, who elected as the first Muslim mayor in London, British continued to be center of attention. Various things about him discussed. From his daily life, his statements, until an analysis of defeating his rival, Zac Goldsmith.

The last name was not just ordinary people. He is the son of British tycoon Sir James Goldsmith. He also candidates for mayor championed by the ruling party, the Conservatives. Meanwhile, Khan of the opposition party, the Labour Party. He is Muslim. Child of Pakistani immigrants.

Lived in the towers with seven siblings. His father was a bus driver.

Her mother takes care of the house and also cloths tailor from their neighbors.

He winning the election. Total of 56,8 percent of the vote for Khan.

Goldsmith only gained 43.2 percent. Khan's victory touted as the biggest in the history of British politics in the selection of individual to a public office.

Then, what is the secret of Khan’s victory? In the UK, Muslims are only minority. According to the latest data, as many as 12,4 percent of the British population is Muslim, 48,4 percent Christian, 1,8 percent Jewish, and 20,7 percent atheists.

The media mention of Khan’s victory is determined by how he and his supporters 'beated' what is called Islamophobia. Namely, hatred for Islam and the Muslim community in the last few years the numbers in Europe, including in Britain, rose sharply. Yes, Islamophobia is also used as a campaign weapon by political opponent.

However, in contrast to Khan, Goldsmith and his party (the Conservative Party) explore the fear of Islam and Muslims to achieve a majority of British societies.

"They imitate the pattern (negative campaigning) from Trump," wrote the British media, The Observer.

Trump that mentioned is Donald Trump, US Presidential candidate.

During the preliminary campaign, he often said various negative statements about Islam and Muslims. In fact, he promised if elected as US president, he would forbid Muslims to America. With that controversial campaign, so far Trump had beaten other candidates from the Republican Party to the US presidential election.

Trump models of this campaign that seems to be followed by Zac Goldsmith. Also by the British Prime Minister, David Cameron. Goldsmith accused Khan linked to radical Islamic movements. Meanwhile, Cameron ever questioned Khan to attend an event similar event to the man who support of radical movements. Namely, a group called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The man called Cameron was Suliman Gani.

"I worry about candidate (party) from Labour that appears again and again and again (in the same event with Suliman Gani in his election area, Tooting), '' Cameron said, as quoted by BBC News.

Accusations of supporting hardline Islamic groups and terrorists is absolutely denied by Labour. Also by Sadiq Khan. Labour Party called it a shameful. Meanwhile, Khan accused the prime minister statement is 'divisive'. He also confirmed the radicalism is a cancer in society.

Islamophobia among people in London actually is real. Unfortunately, this fact is then used by Goldsmith and the Conservative Party's as negative campaign against their political rivals. Islamophobia is increasing every time the bomb attacks in several cities in Europe.

For example in November last year, the number of anti-Islam directly increased sharply happened in Paris. These attacks claimed by supporters of ISIS. the Islamic Human Rights Commission study published last November showed six of 10 Muslims in the UK witnessed discrimination on members of the Muslim community.

Meanwhile, Measuring Anti-Muslim Attacks (Tell MAMA) called the attacks hate against Muslims has increased by 300 percent. Tell MAMA is a non-governmental organization that advocates for victims of the attacks of the anti-Islam.

According to Tell MAMA, mostly cases victim of threats or hatred insults (hate crime) of the anti-Islam in Britain are women.

Precisely, those who are wearing the hijab or or Muslim identity when in public places or public transportation, such as buses and trains.

"In almost all incidents we noted, the perpetrator is usually call the victims as terrorists," said Iman Abou Atta, deputy director of Tell MAMA, as quoted by the BBC.

Tell MAMA noted, the attacks against members of the Muslim community in Britain always rise whenever incidents associated with Muslims and Islam. For example, when the killing of British soldiers, Lee Rigby, in London in 2013, the attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris in early 2015, attacks in Paris in November of the same year, the attack on the airport in Belgium in March 2016, etc.

Various attempts to counteract negative perceptions of Islam and the Muslim community have been done by various parties. Besides the Islamic Human Rights Commission and Tell MAMA, also voiced by some media and politicians, including by Sadiq Khan. The latest act is carried out by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) who covered Islamic organizations in Britain, among others, held program Visit My Mosque Day.

This program has been held twice. This year followed by more than 90 mosques in major cities in the UK. Including, in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast. The core of the program that were widely reported by the media in Britain are mosques in Britain accidentally opening the door possible for non-Muslims. The goal is to show what they call unity in the moments of tension for the community and to answer directly negative perception of Muslims and Islam.

In that program, visitors can witness directly the interior of the mosque, saw the Muslims perform ablutions, and pray. Various discussions were also held openly. As quoted by Arab media published in London, Al Sharq al Awsat, the question from visitors are various.

From about the beard, hijab, Sunni-Shiite differences, to question whether Islam is a terrorist religion. Also whether al-Qaeda and ISIS was part of Islam. There has been a positive interaction between the mosque officials and visitors.

It is not clear what the relationship between the Visit My Mosque Day and London mayor election? Certainly not a coincidence when the election campaign period London, mayor who later won by Sadiq Khan almost coincided with the held Visit My Mosque Day.

But, as stated Khan, the citizens of London have decided to choose hope over fear and choosing unity above split. Thus, the impossible becomes possible.

He said that when convivial with officials at London City Hall when the first day of work as mayor. On that occasion, Khan also repeated his criticism of Donald Trump’ plan to prohibit Muslims enter US.

"Trump does not understand Islam and was stuck into the hands of extremists."

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