Arabs in Scotland call for calm following Paris killings
A charity representing Arabs living in Scotland fears a backlash against Muslims following the Charlie Hebdo murders in France.
The Scottish Arab Federation said the actions of Islamic extremists, which left 12 dead at the offices of the satircal magzine and saw others killed at a Jewish supermarket, was not in the name of the vast majority of Muslims, most of whom were repulsed by the acts of terror.
It was, however, inevitable that there would be a backlash as a consequence, the socirty said.
Adnan Miyasar, founder of the charity, said it was now of vital important to quell fears as intolerance towards Muslims and ethnic minorities was on the rise across Europe.
“Muslims and other ethnic minority groups are very concerned about the rise of resentment against immigrants and "people of colour" in many European countries, especially with the rise of the far right parties and organisations,” he said.
“Incidents of terror attributed to Islamists cause a great deal of anxiety and fear, especially with reported attacks on mosques and Muslim people.
Incidents of terror attributed to Islamists cause a great deal of anxiety and fear - Adana Miyasar
“In order to eradicate terrorism, the fight against it must not be confined to security and military measures, but should include the political, socio-economic, ideological and cultural factors.”
The attacks had left Muslims “very vulnerable, isolated and frightened” said Miyasar.
A total of 17 people were killed in three days of terror attacks in the French capital last week.
About 10,000 troops are being deployed across France after the attacks, and a huge unity rally was held in Paris and in countries across Europe – including Scotland - on Sunday.
“French citizens of Arabic descent have committed acts of terror based on their own interpretation of religious texts; the vast majority of France’s six million Muslims are horrified and sickened by the way their religion is twisted and abused to allow some extremists to commit these atrocities,” Miyasar said.
“Muslims everywhere including Britain share the feeling of horror and revulsion at what happened in France, and condemn it in the strongest terms.
“They see this as a continuation of the acts of terror committed mainly against other Muslims in the Middle East and beyond by the same so called ‘Islamists’.
Azul Fazad, who lives in Scotland and campaigns for the rights of Palestinians, said the acts were not in the name of religion.
He said the Arab community in Scotland had done much to unite different cultures but these incidents threatened that good work, adding: “The fear is a backlash against Muslims. These acts of terrorism potentially set back the good work of Arab communities in Europe. So we have to work to fight extremism in all its forms.”