A group of Muslim women from Batley and Spen have written an open letter condemning “shameful” behavior that has put the community “in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.”
The women, writing anonymously citing security fears, say a “noisy minority” of Muslim men have been “heard incessantly” during the tense election campaign, described as “the same faces that have plagued our area as” leaders. community “years” but do not represent them.
The letter, which circulated to local WhatsApp groups Tuesday night, comes two days before the culmination of a campaign marked by incidents of assault and dirty tricks, which many describe as an exacerbation of divisions within the community.
Women say they have been less vocal during the campaign, not because of a lack of political interest, but because they do not “feel the need to yell, be aggressive or harass people on the streets or online.”
“We cannot claim that we are defending the cause of Palestine while ignoring the [Muslim practice] of peace and tolerance, “the letter adds, criticizing those who” belittle or capitalize on this issue to boost their own egos. “
Palestine has become a focal point of the campaign, which follows the upsurge in violence in the region. George Galloway, the pro-Palestine activist and former Labor MP running for office, has focused on their anger and disappointment towards Labor on the issue.
Labor candidate Kim Leadbeater was hunted down and stopped last Friday by an anti-LGBT activist from Birmingham. Leadbeater, the younger sister of Jo Cox, the former MP who was killed by a far-right terrorist in 2016, said the incident had caused “great anguish.”
On Sunday, another group of Labor activists was physically assaulted and incited, and a man was kicked while on the ground. The home of a 77-year-old retired GP, who was assaulted during the incident, was later attacked, with a Labor campaign poster removed and replaced with one supporting Galloway. Police, an increasingly regular presence in some areas, are investigating both incidents. A Galloway spokesperson denied any involvement.
Writing that “the misogynist and mob mentality have no place in any decent community,” the letter punishes those involved for “loud, aggressive and intimidating behavior” that serves to reinforce stereotypes of Muslim men as oppressive.
It also calls on community groups and religious centers to “step up”, accusing local organizations of failing to provide services to Muslim couples seeking marriage counseling, women experiencing domestic violence or those struggling with addiction. “The sad reality is that our own community has failed to allow an elite group of men to dictate the agenda,” they write.
Referring to all 16 candidates on the ballot, including several from far-right groups, the letter states that the election “is no longer simply about Labor / Conservative / far-right or Galloway. It has thrown a cloud over our entire community and the behavior of Muslim men. “When the elections are over and the candidates” return to their hometowns, “the deep cuts in the community will continue and whoever wins will face” a great challenge to unite everyone ”, they write.
One response, also posted on WhatsApp, accuses the letter writers of making unfounded and misandry accusations, or prejudice against men. “Finally all is fair in love and war and love tour [sic] For years they have been fooling you with their deceptions for decades. Don’t let Labor fool you on July 1, ”he concludes.