Journalist Nargess Moballeghi slams the British Muslims who accepted Theresa May’s invitation to Eid celebrations on Monday.
If you’re from the Muslim community dialogue with government, Parliament, local councils, police and the criminal justice system is all crucial.
But our part in this dialogue needs to be anchored in civil society, in the community’s needs, concerns, demands, aspirations and criticisms. Compromise is a part of diplomacy, so that will be needed too. And two sides at a table can compromise as long as there are… well, two sides.
Yes, you can compromise as long as you are anchored in the community and civil society and have their consent. But if the tipping point in the balance of compromise is passed, whilst you may still be a part of the community, you are no longer anchored within it. Instead, you have become a member of the community who is anchored in government, in the police, in the council etc. So if there is a problem you are part of it, and you cannot be a part of the solution.
Let’s be absolutely clear – any individual who attends Eid “celebrations” with Theresa May falls into that category, whether unwittingly or (mostly) willingly. To the latter – shame on you. And to the former, we don’t have time to mince our words – we are too far along to be wasting time on a question that has already been clearly answered by the actions of this government and a broad consensus in civil society. You need to instantly redress your mistake and come to the right side of the argument.
For many years it has been abundantly clear that this government is not interested in any form of productive or meaningful dialogue with the Muslim community. Instead, it fosters relationships with a network of cherry-picked Muslims it knows will not be problematic for them. This network aids the government’s legitimacy.
But this Tory government is barely “legitimate.” This isn’t a debate of broader interaction with government; we should always be political and engaged. This is about this particular government and this particular juncture in Britain.
Appeasing this government has always been condemnable. If there was every any excuse, they certainly burned away in the last two years.
Last year, just days after the Grenfell Tower fire, attendees had the audacity to go and “celebrate” with Theresa May and this cancerous Tory government. As the burnt remains of working class Muslim and Black Britons were still left in that charred skeleton of a building – a literal inferno caused by this corrupt government – they smiled and took selfies. The disregard of Theresa May for ordinary people literally blew up in their faces yet they still went.
That these people were even allowed to show their faces again amongst us is a testament to how dismally we are failing.
And this year, again, just days after the memorial for Grenfell, in a year that this government has proven their contempt for the victims because they were poor, black and Muslim, they went again to celebrate with her.
Have they no shame? How many of them did we see at Ladbroke Grove, by Grenfell in the last few days?
If they had heard from Grenfell victims then they may have understood why so many in that community would call their attendance disgusting and despicable. Those are adjectives that are hard to disagree with.
This government is against the entirety of civil society, except for the rich that it serves. It is even against the poor white working class that it is whipping into a frenzy against Muslims.
It is against the NHS, it is against public services, it is against the poor, the homeless, the disabled. It is against doctors and nurses.
If those attending Downing Street actually stuck their heads out of the Establishment bubble and the Westminster walls that they are literally begging to get in to they would have heard what Grenfell residents said to Theresa May on the weekend…and what disabled people have said…and homeless people…and doctors and nurses.
These are the people they should be allying with. The people they should be getting together to mourn with. The people who are in a chorus against this cancerous Conservative government that is on the verge of collapsing.
Yet instead, this bunch celebrated Eid with Theresa May.
Nothing to celebrate
But what is there to celebrate? What convoluted stories have you spun for yourselves to justify this – or worse – advocate for its “goodness”. We are not stupid. There is nothing you have “figured out” that we do not see through. There is no balance of things that would conclude that “celebrating” at an event like this has pros that come anywhere close to outweighs the cons.
No, we are not stupid. But you are complicit.
You could make a difference by taking a stand. The proof is in the pudding (and not the one Theresa May served you). Just THREE young people rejecting an invitation to the Eid celebrations has caused a flurry of media coverage. You could have made your voices heard.
Shame on you.
When are we going to stop letting these people have sway in our communities? When are we going to stop them hijacking our voices?
To the wider Muslim community – we need to start seeing broader civil society in this country as those who are against these injustices and those who appease them. There will be many Muslims in the latter group. Let’s make it clear that we are not with them. And they are not with us.
It is time to be clear. Even those who attended with good intentions need to realise you are dragging back debate instead of driving it forward. If as a community we are still at the point of deciding whether we should attend an event like this or not, then we are disastrously behind where we need to be. If we haven’t figured that out yet, then the difficult days ahead will be much darker.
What else has to happen for us to realise? They are literally burning us alive and yet we will still break bread with them. As the victims of the Grenfell fire chanted on the weekend – Shame. Shame. Shame on you.
You can find out more about Nargess Moballeghi’s work at moballeghi.com