So, on Twitter today, I was branded an anti-Semite, purely because I had a difference of opinion with a Jewish man. The difference of opinion wasn’t even about religion, it was about the nasty, hateful tweets people have been posting about Kadiza Sultana.
For anyone not familiar with the story, Kadiza was a British Muslim schoolgirl, who travelled to Syria with two other school friends, early last year, to join IS. At the time, there was a lot of vitriol directed towards the girls and their families; generally along a theme of “good riddance.”
At the time, I thought it was an absolute tragedy that these young, impressionable girls had not been fully protected from the effects of radicalisation. It’s easy for people to judge from behind their screens and keyboards; they lack empathy and as much as they believe the girls deserved what they got, they themselves have been exploited by the negative portrayal of Muslims in mainstream media. By dissociating themselves from the results of such a tragedy, they feel empowered to continue their rhetoric.
What is needed, now more than ever, is education. Education on how social media has become such a pervasive force in our lives that it also serves as a tool for the worst kinds of humanity. Better programmes need to be put in place to protect the young and vulnerable from those who would seek to exploit them, purely for their own ends.
These girls, like so many others, were lied to, manipulated and exploited. Like any other type of child abuser, the perpetrators worked steadily and methodically, invading their minds, twisting their beliefs and turning them against their families and those who could have protected them.
Why so many people think it’s ok to celebrate the death of a 15-year-old; who should have finished her GCSE’s and perhaps gone on to further education, baffles me. It’s a sad reflection of the divisiveness in our society that has turned people against each other.
For the record (not that I need to justify myself to anyone!) I am an atheist. I do not believe in any god. Being an atheist does not make me anti-Semite, anti-christian, anti-muslim etc etc. I reject religious teachings because I believe they are based on fables and fairy stories with no solid proof of the subject matter.
I believe in the Big Bang, Evolution, Science and Nature. I believe that every single living thing on this planet comes from star dust. We are all connected through billions of years of evolution. I don’t care what colour your skin is, what language you speak or where you come from. I believe in equal rights and the right for people to be free from oppressive regimes.
What counts is living a good life, being kind in all things you do to people and animals. Treating others with courtesy and respect.
Above all, don’t vilify people for their choices unless you are willing to be judged on the things you do and say.
Kadiza Sultana is dead, she cannot stand up for herself anymore and she was failed by a system that should have protected her.