Asalaamu Alaikum, May Allah’s peace, mercy and blessings be on you
As we draw closer to the end of the first week in Ramadan, I am eager to reach out and reaffirm our continued support to Muslim communities throughout the United Kingdom.
The bonds which unite us must remain strong, and we are reminded of this, it was reported that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “There is no wrong action which Allah is swifter to punish in this world – in addition to the punishment which He has stored up for the wrongdoer in the Next World – than cutting off ties of kinship and injustice.”
Ramadan is for me as well as for many others, a very special month, a month of spirituality and reflection, a month of family gatherings, a month where I would be looking forward to coming back home to be with my family, a month where all of us would sit around the table for a whole month at the same time to break our fast, and then get ready to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque for ‘Taraweeh’ prayers. This is, after all, a month filled with love, compassion and solitude. A month that is like no other.
I miss spending Ramadan in Jerusalem, where you would hear the sound of the canons firing off to indicate the breaking of the fast in the evening alongside the adhan (call to prayer) when we all rush to our seats at the dining table to break our fast. I miss the sounds of merchants down the Old City of Jerusalem as you walk down the streets heading to pray. I miss the smell of the spices and the Arabic coffee when walking down the city, and most of all, I miss the smell of history that the Old City walls.
We all have our memories of Ramadan, and mine will always be of Jerusalem and its spirituality and holiness. A city that is where my heart is and where my life began.
During this Ramadan, Tell MAMA is proud to reaffirm its commitment to your safety through the ties of kinship and support. We believe in the fundamental right to practise religious beliefs, suffice that they are not actively harmful to others, free from bigotry, hatred, or violence. This freedom extends to the right to wear religious clothing, the right to speak openly about your beliefs or to partake in religious worship.
Tell MAMA acknowledges and will continue to acknowledge the lived experiences of those who use our support service. Our understanding of how racism, prejudice, Islamophobia and discrimination against Muslim communities is shaped, enables us to recognise how attitudes manifest in the public and within institutions which can harm the aspirations and life experiences of Muslims in Britain. This has been highlighted in our report on ‘A Constructed Threat: Identity, Prejudice and the Impact of anti-Muslim Hatred’ and previous reports. We will continue to highlight this throughout our work.
Freedom of expression is a vital tool but it comes with a responsibility to not harm the dignity of others or promote racial hatred or violence. Sadly, for some, a disproportionate hatred of Islam is often interchangeable with a hatred of Muslim individuals, whereby hostility toward largely minority communities is hidden behind a critique of their religious beliefs.
Throughout the month of Ramadan, we will be holding iftars across the country, security training sessions and outreach activities. We look forward to seeing you at one of our events.
From myself and my colleagues at Tell MAMA, we wish you a Ramadan Kareem and Mubarak and we will continue our journey in serving the communities in tackling anti-Muslim hatred, Islamophobia, prejudice, discrimination, and racism in all its forms and working against any injustice we see.
Iman Atta, Director, Tell MAMA