With the police announcement that the fourth London suicide bomber was possibly African British it was not long before the national media found the perfect spin to introduce a new element of racism to the tale. As if planned by a central government agency every reference to alleged suspect Abdullah Shaheed Jamal (Germaine Lindsay) was suddenly prefixed by the suddenly all important phrase 'Jamaican born'
The Sun typically opened with a headline which read ‘No4 killer was Jamaican’. It then went on to describe the 19 year old as a ‘fanatical Jamaican Muslim’. The story then goes on to make a tenuous link between him, Richard Reid and Sheik Abdullah el-Faisal, a Jamaican born Muslim who was convicted for preaching ‘flames of hostility’ in 2003. However contrary to the media assertions, the 19 year old was British. And although he was born in Jamaica, he left for Britain when he just four months old. Typically the media is not interested in this fact and continues to refer to him as the Jamaican Muslim. In all honesty, this behaviour is expected from them.
However the most shocking headline is not from a right wing publication, but a tabloid paper which describes itself as ‘Britain’s Best Black Newspaper’. On July the 18th the front page headline of the Voice simply read ‘NOT ONE OF US’. Now if it had been the Daily Mail that had printed that then we would understand the racism behind the message. But sadly coming from a tabloid which describes itself as ‘Britain’s Best Black Newspaper’ it is nothing short of disgraceful. Jamal described by the paper as ‘Lindsey Germail’ WAS one of us. The African British community may not be proud of what he is accused of doing, indeed the Jamaican community has been reported as having ‘condemned’ his actions, but to attempt to assert that he is no longer one of us it is nothing short of cowardice.
There has never been a more important time for unity. The British media has never let up on attempting to associate those of us with Jamaican heritage with drugs and armed criminality. Likewise the British government has always been harsh and unfair with African Caribbean’s coming to the UK from Jamaica even before the London bombings. When we discovered a vicious minority were involved in murdering those within our own community we did not maintain ‘a wall of silence’ nor turn our backs on any of our youth at risk in following their dangerous example.
The British media has turned Muslim into a code word for Asian, thereby denying the existence of millions of African Muslims around the world. It is important that African Britons do not get caught up in this racist witch hunt for a convenient scapegoat for the London Bombs. A whole community has no need to answer calls for it to condemn the actions of a single individual, just like in a western democracy an entire nation cannot blame the military actions and foreign policy of its Government on one man.
African Britons have just had to endure a patronising national media calling for African British churches to condemn the so called ritual murder and child abuse imported from ‘a culturally backwards’ Africa. In contrast no media organisation has ever called for european community leaders to publicly condemn the action of paedophiles. Nor have there been demands that they bear the responsibility of implementing anti-paedophile initiatives in all educational institutions where european men are likely to get qualifications enabling them to prey on innocent vulnerable children.
As a community we must always show solidarity with all Africans irrespective of their heritage or faith. Irrespective of the deeds of Abdullah Shaheed Jamal, he was one of us, and he was also British. If we don’t learn the reasons why we lost him then the media has won in its evil game of spreading racist myopic propaganda.
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