After the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby by Islamic extremists in London last May, The Guardian reported a surge in the number of anti-Muslim offenses.
Also, last May, a poll by the British research firm, YouGov, showed that nearly two-thirds of Britons believe there will be a "clash of civilizations" between British Muslims and white Britons, and 34% believe that Muslims pose a serious threat to democracy.
As a Muslim living in the UK, I wonder, who is to blame for the increase in anti-Muslim feelings in the U.K.? Or is the problem "Islamophobia"?
If one dispassionately examines facts, it seems possible that if "Islamophobia" exists in the U.K., then perhaps we Muslims are to blame for it.
For a start, let us look at the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, who was butchered in Woolwich, near his army barracks, on May 22, 2013 by two British Muslim converts.
The murderers, Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale were both 29 and born to Christian families. Both are reported by the Daily Mail to have been inspired by the British Muslim cleric Anjem Choudary. Therefore, can we Muslims blame the British public if they fear for their young men and women, and would prefer them not to associate with us and possibly become Islamically radicalized?
Anjem Choudary -- the Muslim cleric who "inspired" Rigby's murderers -- has a lavish history of inciting Islamic fundamentalism and hatred against Britain. He refused, for example, to condemn the July 7, 2005 London bombings and even spoke favorably about the "black flag of Sharia flying over Downing Street [the Prime Ministers' office] by 2020".
In an interview on April 11, 2013 Choudhry said, "As Muslims, we reject democracy, we reject secularism, and freedom, and human rights. We reject all of the things that you espouse as being ideals ... There is nothing called a republic in Islam. When we talk about the sharia, we are talking about only the sharia. We are talking about rejecting the U.N., the IMF, and the World Bank."
So, why then, if Choudhry and other Islamist fundamentalists so oppose the British values of democracy and human rights, do they choose to stay in the UK? No one is keeping them here against their will.
Also, if we Muslims in the UK disagree with what Choudhry and his like-minded associates are saying, why do we never speak out against it? If we are actually opposed these Islamist hate preachers, why are we failing to take a unanimous public stance to disown and isolate them from our community?
The non-Muslims must be also asking themselves the same questions, and logically assuming from our silence that we agree.
The Islamists' damage to the British society does not stop with the hatred they spread, but also extends to exporting terrorism to the rest of the world.
For example, Abu Hamzah Al-Masri, who is now facing terrorism charges in the US after being extradited from the UK, turned a local London mosque into a recruiting ground for Islamic radicals. In the 1990s, Abu Hamzah's followers included the 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and failed "shoe bomber" Richard Reid, both now serving life sentences in the U.S.
As a sidebar, on May 28, 2009, three of Abu Hamza's sons and his stepson were sentenced to imprisonment by a British court for a two-year fraud involving stolen cars. And in July 2010, another of Abu Hamza's sons was sentenced to twelve months prison after pleading guilty to one count of violent disorder at anti-Israel protests in January 2009. In 2012, another one of Abu Hamza's sons was convicted of armed robbery and illegal possession of a firearm with intent to commit an offense.
A phobia, by definition, is an irrational fear: a fear of something that is not real -- such as being afraid that there are snakes in the next room. But if you look at the London tube bombings; the death threats against a British schoolteacher whose kindergartners innocently decided to name a teddy bear Mohammed; the recent the murder and attempted decapitation of Lee Rigby, not to mention events abroad, such as two attacks on the World Trade Center, the Madrid train bombings the attempted attacks by the Underwear Bomber, the Shoe Bomber, the Times Square Bomber; the murders of Theo van Gogh, Ilan Halimi, Nick Berg, Daniel Pearl; Jews in Toulouse, Mumbai and Buenos Aires; the victims of US Army Major Nidal Hassan; assaults on Kurt Westergaard, and Lars Hedegaard, and the threats to Salman Rushdie, Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, among other episodes -- these events are all too real, so how can we Muslims in the UK honestly expect people not to be "Islamophobic"? How can we blame the British society for being ill-disposed when some of their Islamic "leaders" are breeding both terrorists and criminals?
There also seems to be a pattern now of Muslim men "grooming" white underage non-Muslim girls into sex rings. For example: in May 2012, nine Muslim men were convicted of being part of a child sexual exploitation ring involving vulnerable white girls. Eight of the men were of British Pakistani origin and one was an Afghan; all Muslims.
The seven members of the Oxford child sexual grooming gang who were found guilty in June 2013 (clockwise from top left): Kamar Jamil, Akhtar Dogar, Anjum Dogar, Assad Hussain, Mohammed Karrar, Bassam Karrar, and Zeeshan Ahmed.
One of the victims told the court "of being raped by two men while she was "so drunk she was vomiting over the side of the bed. She later cried herself to sleep."
Further, in June 2013, seven Muslim men from Oxford were found guilty of grooming underage white girls, aged between 11 and 15, into a sadistic sex ring.
Commenting on the case, Dr. Taj Hargey, the Muslim cleric of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, said, "[R]ace and religion were linked to the recent spate of grooming rings in which Muslim men have targeted under-age white girls." He added that, "Imams promote grooming rings' by encouraging followers to think white women deserve to be 'punished'".
Dr. Hargey also noted that, "all the men [involved in the Oxford sex ring] -- though of different nationalities -- were Muslim and they deliberately targeted vulnerable white girls, whom they appeared to regard as easy meat." Dr. Hargey added that pretending this is not a problem of the Islamic community is "ideological denial."
So, how can we Muslims blame the British public for fearing for their underage girls when Muslim men keep getting arrested and convicted for grooming white girls into sex rings?
As a Muslim living in the UK, I have come to believe that we Muslims are the main source of "Islamophobia" -- by the evil and disturbing acts of some Muslims, and above all by the silence of the majority regarding those acts.
It would appear we have no one to blame but ourselves.