Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Thank you Tariq | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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He was described by the leader of the Labour Party [Ed Miliband] as “the true face of Britain.” He is Tariq Jahan, a British Muslim of Pakistani origin who taught everybody an important lesson in the midst of a wave of violence that erupted last week in England. Tariq – before burying his 21 year-old son who had been deliberately hit by a car – called on people to remain calm and return to their homes and not to seek revenge on those who killed his son. By behaving in such a manner, Tariq was an excellent ambassador for Muslims.

There is no doubt that many people affiliated to Islam and Muslims have distorted the image of this great religion throughout the world and in Britain especially; therefore when we see such striking humane positions it gives the world a chance to get to know the tolerance of Islam and not to be fooled by those who falsely claim that they are the ones that represent Islam. It is hard to blame the West for its negative perspective of Muslims as long as we have representatives of Al Qaeda killing and frightening innocent people and then insisting that they carry out their actions because they are Muslims. Despite the fact that the rest of the Muslims reject them, the wrong impression might have already been ingrained in the minds of ordinary people. But look at what Tariq Jahan said just hours after the shock of his son’s killing, as he portrayed the image of a real Muslim and called for peace and reconciliation. He said, “Blacks, Asians, whites, we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise calm down and go home – please.”

There is no exaggeration in describing the position of this grey-bearded wise man, whilst addressing the angry protesters from his own community, as the most positive stance taken since the outbreak of the violent acts witnessed by the UK [over the past week]. Imagine if Jahan had supported the calls for retribution – he is a father who lost his son at the end of the day – and became very angry just as some of his son’s friends did, who vowed to “hunt down these black men, cut off their heads and feed them to our dogs!” What would have happened then? This is something that is not far from people’s minds, especially if we add to the equation those who cover themselves in the cloak of religion…how bad could matters get? When would the violence stop if one person is killed in revenge? Only God knows what the consequences could be; perhaps the violence would reach such a dangerous level that it could not be conceived, and could not be stopped.

Tariq Jahan’s position was quickly reflected in Britain on both the official and street levels as the grieving man quickly became the star of the week. British newspapers raced to tell his story and express his heroic position in favour of social peace even at the cost of personal sufferings. The Daily Mail described him as a living example of the tolerance of Islam. We are so desperately in need of such composed, rational positions these days.

British people, from both the local and migrant communities, will remember what Tariq Jahan did. They will remember that a British Muslim rejected personal retribution and advocated the safety of his society. Jahan rose above his tragedy in favour of his nation. In truth he embodied the sentiment of the Prophet Mohammed’s saying; “real patience is that shown at the first shock.”

Thank you Tariq Jahan, we are proud that a Muslim has been used as the example of the “true face of Britain.”