Woolwich Attack: Mosque Responds to Extremism in the Best Possible Way

How to you dismantle a potential violent situation? That is what members of a mosque in York, England had to ask themselves after they became the focus of the far-right English Defense League over the weekend. Following the brutal murder in Woolwich of a solider by extremists, the EDL responded by calling for protests across the country over the past week.

The Guardian reports that half a dozen people arrived for the protest, which was organized online; a St. George's flag was nailed to the fence around the mosque. The response of the mosque wasn't what you might expect. Instead of shuttering their doors and, they went outside and invited protesters to join them in tea and crumpets. 

Prior to the meeting, the two groups could not have seen one another more differently. To the EDL, the mosque and its members represented a form of extremism that they do not understand. Leanne Staven, who turned up to protest, said that "We need a voice. I think white British who have any concerns feel we can't speak freely. Change has been coming for a long time and in light of what happened to that soldier in Woolwich there have to be restrictions on people learning extremist behavior and it has to stop."


Photo of young mosque member: via Ann Czernik for the Guardian

Members of the mosque invited the protesters into the mosque to join them in a dialogue about extremism. What they discovered is that they both felt the same way: any form of extremist violence is wrong. The president of the York mosque responded that "Under the banner of Islam there are very different politics: democratic politics, the far right, left, central, all over. You can't target a whole community for what one or two people have done. What they've done in London is for their own reasons but there's no reasoning behind it from an Islamic point of view." 

After the groups enjoyed tea and some custard creams, they partook in an impromptu football match. Proof positive that talking out your differences beats shouting about them any day of the week. This is what we need. More dialogue, more understanding, and more meetings between people who believe they have nothing in common. Through this we will hopefully all understand that we have much more in common than we can even possibly imagine. 

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Andrea Ayres-Deets

PM Politics Intern- M.A. in Writing from the University of Warwick. Lover of sci-fi, awkward situations, and coffee.

MORE FROM

Venezuela's Supreme Court targeted in helicopter attack amid ongoing crisis

The apparent helicopter attack is the latest escalation of an ongoing political crisis.

Iran calls Supreme Court's travel ban decision "racist" and "unfair"

Iranian officials criticized Trump's de-facto Muslim ban this week.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Design for New York's first official LGBTQ monument is unveiled

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.

Venezuela's Supreme Court targeted in helicopter attack amid ongoing crisis

The apparent helicopter attack is the latest escalation of an ongoing political crisis.

Iran calls Supreme Court's travel ban decision "racist" and "unfair"

Iranian officials criticized Trump's de-facto Muslim ban this week.

Kshama Sawant on why Seattle needs an independent investigation into the Charleena Lyles shooting

Seattle City Councilperson Kshama Sawant, member of Socialist Alternative party, discusses the Charleena Lyles investigation, tenant voter registration, why Hillary Clinton lost in 2016 and more.

The EPA seeks to undo clean water rule, putting 117 million Americans' water at risk

The new rule could have "long-reaching consequences for everyone living in the United States.”

This small Ohio town might stop treating heroin overdoses to save the city money

"People will die. It's plain and simple."

Design for New York's first official LGBTQ monument is unveiled

Here's our first look at New York's new monument to LGBT communities.