Today I feel great sadness. I cannot quite believe what has happened, and I’m still trying to make sense of it all. I could accept what has happened if the referendum had been won on the basis of facts and evidence. However this is not what happened. A referendum has been won on the basis of lies, lies and more lies. The debate during the referendum was shallow, superficial, and toxic. People have been denied the level of discussion needed to make a well thought out, logical decision. Instead, people had to make a decision without knowing the facts.
It has been sickening to watch. Advocates for Leave would say would absolutely anything to get what they wanted whether it was to accuse blameless refugees for the ills in this country or whether it was to make up statistics, or misrepresent the political processes in the European Union. This is a tragedy and it doesn’t bode well for the future.
However, I wonder, if people had been given all the facts, if we had a debate characterised by intellectual depth and reasoned argument, would people still have voted to leave, and this is where it really makes my heart crumble. So many people voted on the basis of immigration, and no matter what, they were going to vote leave. As one person put it, ‘its all about the Muslims and stopping them entering the country’.
As a Muslim, born here, who loves this country, I no longer feel welcome. My father, a doctor, came to this country to further his studies. He like his friends did not plan to stay here. However he, and they did. They made, and continue to make important contributions to the NHS and scientific research, and many of their children continue this legacy. Some have diversified into other important fields, and all of them without exception are making their mark, contributing to the good of this country and the world. All of them love this country and want to make it great.
All of us are sickened by the acts of terror perpetrated in the name of our religion. We just look on with a sense of helplessness and despair. Whenever we hear of an act of terrorism, we often, ashamedly think, please let it not be a Muslim this time. Our great religion has been hijacked. Anyone who has studied Islamic law and philosophy will know that it is impossible to study this great religion and then perpetrate an act of terror let alone be cruel to an animal, which is a great crime.
This referendum has shown to me that there are many people in this country who don’t want us to be here. The media constantly denigrates and misrepresents our religion, and demonises our community. It’s clear to me, people aren’t interested in facts or evidence; they’re not really interested in the truth. They hate Muslims and foreigners in general. I think we are reaching a point where Muslims now need to start thinking about leaving this country. Indeed this has already become a discussion amongst my friends. I never imagined such a discussion would ever arise. I already know one of our family friends, a doctor whose left this country for Pakistan, and I’m now seriously starting to think about my future here.
If a Muslim with skills and education asked me whether they should come to this country, then I would honestly say to them to not come, or for that matter to come at all to Europe. You will not be welcomed, you will be despised and you will constantly live in fear and anxiety. Indeed I wish Muslims, or for that matter any refugee fleeing wars, oppression, poverty and injustice did not flee to the West. I would say to them don’t come. This makes me especially angry because again, like in the referendum, people have not been given the full facts about what is happening in places like Syria, and the culpability of the US to keep Assad in power, or how Western powers in general support dictatorships across the Muslim world. It’s like we are in a no win situation. People can’t bring change in their own countries because the West supports these regimes, and crushes them, and when life becomes impossible in these countries, they cannot come to the West because they are filthy immigrants. This injustice cannot continue, and it’s going to reach a tipping point.
The outcome to this referendum has far reaching consequences that people don’t realise. The truth of how people have been lied to will soon unravel. When peoples lives don’t improve as they imagined, but rather get worse, people will then have to think more deeply, and they will soon realise that immigration was not the primary cause of their problems, or for that matter the EU. But rather it was, and is, because of poor governmental policies over decades, and then there will be a severe backlash for those who campaigned to leave the EU. But by then it will be too late.
However, despite all of this, there is one event during this referendum, which will live with me forever, the death of Jo Cox. I cried. I can’t help but think about her. I’ve thought about her everyday, and the more I learn more about her, the more I’m humbled by her, the more I admire her, the more I love her, and the more my heartbreaks that humanity has lost someone of her calibre. I’m trying to find something, anything to keep me going in light of this referendum result, and right now all I can think of is Jo.