An unexpected benefit of the recent riots in Birmingham, which culminated in the deaths of three young Muslim men, is a change in the ways in which British Muslims are viewed by society. According to Dr Chris Allen, expert on Islamophobia at the University of Birmingham, the Muslims’ response to the deaths have shown changed the way Muslims are portrayed in the media – from a negative to a more positive light. Most notably, prejudice towards Muslim communities, which resulted from a negative portrayal in the media, was turned on its head by Tariq Jahan’s reaction to the death of his son, which has helped to end the riots in the city (as reported). The BBC reports that following survey with Birmingham’s Muslims about the riots, Dr Allen concluded that ‘Muslims felt the world now had a better understanding of them’.
Various German newspapers reported on the end of Ramadan and the three-day celebration (Eid al-Fitr) held in Muslim communities. Aiman Mazyek, Chair of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, wished all Muslims happy celebrations amongst their families and friends, but also pointed to current grievances in many parts of the world. To remind people of the importance of solidarity, peaceful coexistence, and mutual trust, he closed his message by drawing on the case of Tariq Jahan, whose son was recently killed during the riots in the UK. Jahan had called on people to not seek violent revenge, but end the riots and unite (as reported).
Between 20.000 and 25.000 people gathered in Birmingham’s Summerfield Park last Thursday to attend a public funeral prayer for the three Muslim men who died last week while protecting their community from rioters (as reported). Syrian Muslim scholar Scheik Muhammad al-Yaqoubi led the prayers and honored the three young men by referring to them as “martyrs”. The father of one of the victims, Tariq Jahan, who had been praised for his reaction to the deaths and his appeal to stop rioting, also addressed the mourners. According to the Guardian, he thanked the crowd for their presence and said: “This is for the three shaheeds [martyrs]. Please remember them”. A private burial ceremony was held later on Thursday.
Meanwhile, four men have been charged with murder and three more arrests have been made on suspicion of being involved in the murder of the three men.