Yesterday evening, Channel 4’s Dispatches aired the following programme, entitled ‘Racist Britain.’
The programme highlighted the racist and anti-Muslim hatred which blights the lives of some people who are targeted by perpetrators with openly racist and bigoted views. The programme provided an insight into bigoted activities in our country which deserve nothing but contempt and strong action from us all by challenging, condemning and reporting in the perpetrators.
During the course of the programme, staff at Tell MAMA received abusive and threatening phone calls from 8 pm to 9 pm and with threats and racist and anti-Muslim abuse being left on our voicemail messaging services. These were logged and sent to the police.
Yet, we also received some of the most beautiful messages from members of the public and we wanted to highlight just one of the many we received. There are many within our country who simply will not accept such hatred and intolerance and this story is in honour of the silent majority who go about their daily lives and who challenge and question the hatred of others in a desire to build a more integrated, harmonious and cohesive country.
Response from member of the public to Tell MAMA, 11/07/2016
Having just watched C4Dispatches, I am writing to TM from a different perspective in terms of prevailing perceptions.
I am white, English, public school educated and privileged. Now in my 60s, as I child I grew-up in Singapore. It was there that a lifelong enduring memory of honesty, decency, loyalty, and warmth of love was seeded. It was seeded by a humble taxi driver, ‘Osman’. Every school day for three years, unhesitatingly Osman ferried me to and from my school and my home in his taxi, of which he was exceedingly proud. He cared. He was generous of heart and action. He counselled. He joked. He laughed. He moaned. He was one of the most decent human beings I have known. He was also a proud Muslim. He had undertaken Hajj three times. He told me about his pilgrimage experiences. I was in awe as he regaled me of its time, distance, numbers and method. He always wore his faith, with pride. For many, many years after, Osman was, to me, the epitome of the Muslim faith. He still is. Osman died many years ago and when I found this out, I cried. The tears seared as they ran. Therefore, when today I witness the mayhem of hate, confusion, vitriol, bitterness, and loss, and when I see fingers pointing at the Muslim faith, I think of this humble taxi driver, and I know that as a representative of your faith, Osman is its truth and its reality. Society needs more ‘Osman’ – a subliminally respectful preacher and teacher, and a goodly, humble man.
This is my enduring impression of the Muslim faith. All should thank Osman.