Terrorism Creates Terror in All of Us

Myira Khan – Muslim Counsellor in Leicester

The events of Wednesday afternoon in Woolwich left the country in a state of anger, fear, shock and grief. The murder of Drummer Lee Rigby was brutal not only in the shocking violence inflicted upon him but also in its stark reminder of the underlying tensions between communities and people living side by side in the UK. The labels of “terrorist attack” or “fanatical Islamist” does little to further the integration of Muslims or the acceptance of Muslims in to wider social arenas and the despicable acts of two people overshadow the positive integration and forward steps taken by many thousands of Muslims living and working all around the UK. Just as these two people do not represent Islam – which has been a strong and consistent message across the UK from many Muslim and non-Muslim organisations and societies – the resulting demonstration by the EDL also does not represent the wider community/culture or race that they belong to.But how are we to make sense of what impact this event has on us or how it leaves us feeling?

Terrorism but its very nature expects to create terror and fear in those it targets. In reality it impacts upon all of us – triggering feelings both towards the victim and his family and towards those who carried out this vicious attack. And it can lead all of us to feel terrorised – indiscriminately, not just those who are perceived as the actual target of terrorism.

As a Muslim I strongly condemn what these two men have done. I found it as disgusting and shocking as the rest of the country. And like others I was angry… and also fearful. I was angry and shocked that such a violent and brutal act was carried out but also that it was supposedly carried out in the name of Islam – which goes against everything that I believe in and stand for. It impacts upon me on a personal level as I question how will I as a Muslim now be perceived or treated – as if somehow my identity was hijacked and associated with such acts of violence. I was fearful – for my own safety – for a potential backlash which may cause further harm and that peaceful law-abiding integrated Muslims may become the target of those who wish to direct their anger to “all Muslims”.

For some of us, the events in Woolwich, the resulting demonstration and the graphic pictures and videos splashed all over the media have had a big impact. Today in Leicester, the Archbishop of Canterbury met with both Christian and Muslim priests and chaplains, representing the Christian-Muslim Forum, to condemn the violence in Woolwich and to reiterate the message that this act was not in the name of Islam. As a multi-cultural city, races/ cultures/ religions are represented throughout our communities and integrated within the city – however this does not make us immune to questioning our own identity or relationship to others or to the impact that this event has had on us.

Counselling can help us to make sense of how we feel, especially after a traumatic experience or event, which may have left us feeling overwhelmed, angry or fearful. Rutland House Counselling and Psychotherapy offers counselling in Leicester and is available if you feel that you could benefit from talking to a professional counsellor – 0116 416 1626.

This Article was written by Myira Khan Muslim Counsellor at RHCP

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