LONDON – Facing rising incitements and attacks, a group of UK Muslims have come up with the idea of
holding a carnival to bring the British society closer to the Islamic faith, copying the successful idea of Notting Hill Carnival that defended the rights of the black over the past forty years.
"I have discussed the idea with several Imams and community leaders and it is something they are considering,” Mohammed Hakim, a political activist based in Brighton, told OnIslam.net.
“We need now to define the manner."
The Notting Hill carnival was created in 1959 in response to the harassment of young black men.The idea of Notting Hill carnival was first suggested by British race equality campaigner, Claudia Jones following the violence of 1958 against the black community in Notting Hill and Nottingham in districts in London.
Jones decided to organize a carnival, hoping that the joyous occasion would force communities to see each other in a different light, away from stereotypes and frozen racial social dogma.
Considering a similar move, Hakim explained that the parallels between Britain 1958 and today were actually chillingly symmetric, especially after the traumatic murder of soldier Lee Rigby which triggered anti-Muslim attacks.
Yet, Hakim stressed that it would difficult to imagine a Muslim Carnival quite in the same vein as Notting Hill since alcohol and provocative dancing were not allowed in Islam.
An alternation celebration of Islam within the community was suggested to show the true image of Islam.
The number of anti-Islamic attacks has increased as much as tenfold in the days that followed the Woolwich murder of Drummer Lee Rigby.
A series of attacks against Muslim targets included three terrorist bombings targeted at different mosques in West Midlands in July.
Tell Mama project, which monitors anti-Muslim attacks in Britain, has also reported 212 “anti-Muslim incidents” after the Woolwich attack.
The figure included 11 attacks on mosques, in a series manifestation of anti-Muslim sentiments.
The idea inspired similar moves by other British Muslim youth groups.
"We definitely need to do something along those lines in the UK,” Mona Shaef, who works with a group of Youth on an outreach community project, told OnIslam.
Shaef said her group plans to invited non-Muslim community members to experience a day in the life of a Muslim.
“We cannot expect the police or the government to solve racism ... It is something the community needs to tackle on the ground through workshops, events and educational programs.
"I was inspired by a Ramadan event in Dubai where non-Muslims were invited to experience the fast for a day. All the people I met said they found the experience eye-opening," she added.
Hussein, a sociology student in Manchester, said he wish to offer a true image of a peaceful Islam to the British community.
"People have learned to fear Islam ... They [non-Muslim] only see the restrictions, they do not understand the beauty and the joy of being a Muslim.
“We need to shine the light on Islam from a different angle and demonstrate that Islam is life, joy, beauty, community spirit and above tolerance and understanding."