British Muslims are coming together to say that the so-called Islamic state has nothing to do with our faith. It’s a twisted version of Islam that we condemn utterly. We won’t tolerate Great Britain being poisoned by extremist propaganda.
Inspire launched “Making A Stand” because British Muslim women are incredibly angry and frustrated about their faith being hijacked and want to make a stand against terrorism. We oppose IS and extremism. We see how young people are being radicalised and fear that our children will be next.
When we hear about teenage boys and girls going out to Syria and Iraq to join IS we feel outrage and horror. These young people are being brainwashed and as women we want to do something about it.
But our message can go further. The Sun is today asking Britain to unite as a whole and make a stand against extremism. Terrorists are committing acts of brutality and we have to say we are not taking it anymore.
As a nation we stand for tolerance, respect, equality and human rights. That is what makes Britain great. We’re making a stand against any intolerance and hatred and everyone has a role to play.
Imams in our mosques need to continue to reach out to young people and to openly reject what IS is doing. They need to reach out to young Muslim girls in particular. At times, these girls find that they are not welcomed in the mosque and they are not having their voices heard. So they turn to the internet for religious guidance and find extremist views.
Imams also need to continue to open up their doors to the wider community and promote tolerance. That good work has got to be amplified at the moment because it is so desperately needed.
Young Muslims have a vital role to play in the fight against extremism. They need to stand up and say that IS is simply not cool and spread that message to their peers.
IS likes to promote the idea that their fighters are ‘real men’ but there’s nothing masculine about blowing people up. A man is somebody that respects life and humanity and builds bridges within the community.
IS also like to say that the young women travelling over to be jihadi brides will be treated as equals. But the reality is so much different. They are treated as second class citizens and their role is within the home. They’ve bought into a pack of lies and they’ve given up the freedoms and women’s rights that Britain offers.
People of a non-Muslim faith can help in this fight against IS by stamping out hate as a whole. IS plays into the fears that some people have about the Muslim faith and burn the bridges within our society.
If we respond by promoting hate to each other we are letting them win. They want Muslims to feel marginalised so they will want to join their twisted cause.
We need to say we’re not going to allow you to destroy us and we say that by not tolerating hatred or violence to anyone.
The common theme here is to make a stand against any hatred or extremism. It’s not what it means to be British.
IS is touching every part of British society. In the last week we had a 15-year-old British girl travelling to Syria to join the cause and we had the barbaric murder of Alan Henning.
But that should make us stronger. In these times of crisis we need to stand up even more united and stand up stronger. We’re not going to allow them to divide our nation.
We are British. We need to take to social media and go into our communities to spread the message and show that we are all making a stand.
Sara’s words can be read as part of Wednesday October 8’s seven-page spread in The Sun Newspaper: