[Editor’s note: Britain has a rotten government lead by a figurehead buffoon that has displayed a disturbing level of disorganisation and incompetence in it’s handling of the Coronavirus outbreak. Announcing this latest lockdown in a late night tweet is typical of the farcical way this shitshow of a government has behaved.
However, to decry this restriction as Islamophobia is nonsense and extremely counter-productive. We are fighting a pandemic, so regardless of whether it’s Eid, Christmas, Hannukah or any other day, if the numbers have been rising in these areas that have seen the lockdown re-imposed, then so be it – religion has no place in such a decision. The virus doesn’t follow religious lines so neither should we in battling it.
There is a great fear that Muslims in these areas will ignore the lockdown as they can be notoriously bad at following the law of the land and often rely on the race and religion cards to cover their blatant disregard for Britain and it’s laws. This disregard could lead to a resurgence in the virus and many more deaths.
The government needs to ignore any and all religious-based complaints and base it’s actions purely on the scientific and medical fields. Britain’s Muslims need to accept this, no playing the race or religion cards, no breaking the rules because they don’t suit you.
Yes, many non-Muslim white people broke the rules in May, but two wrongs don’t make a right and any attempt to interject racial or religious issues into the issue of the pandemic should be roundly condemned by all Britons, regardless of race or religion. Ian]
Middle East Eye
‘I smell Islamophobia’: British Muslims decry lockdown imposed hours before Eid
By Rayhan Uddin
A local coronavirus lockdown in the north of England announced by the UK government late on Thursday night, hours before the festival of Eid al-Adha, an Islamic holiday, has caused outrage among British Muslims.
UK health secretary Matt Hancock tweeted a thread just after 9pm announcing that households in Manchester and surrounding areas could not meet other families indoors, citing an increasing rate of coronavirus transmission in the area.
1/4 We're constantly looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we've seen an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) July 30, 2020
“Based on the data, we decided that in Greater Manchester, parts of West Yorkshire and East Lancashire we need to take immediate action to keep people safe”, Hancock wrote.
The health secretary said that the spread was due to households meeting and not abiding by social distancing.
“From midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas,” he announced.
“We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of Covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe.”
The announcement was met with fierce criticism on social media, with many linking the timing with Eid al-Adha, which began on Friday.
One user said that she “smelled Islamophobia” in the decision.
new lockdown measures for Greater Manchester the day before eid? i smell islamaphobia— arij (@aerlinja) July 30, 2020
Several towns and cities now under lockdown, including Oldham, Bolton and Bradford, have high proportions of Muslims according to the most recent UK census.
Just to be clear: The vast majority of these Northern areas have a significant Muslim population. The government knew exactly what it was doing when it announced these local lockdown measures a few hours before Eid al-Adha. pic.twitter.com/8C9xIGtQo7— Aleesha (@a_leesha1) July 31, 2020
“It may well be the right decision but the timing is really poor,” Furqan Naeem, a community organiser for Citizens UK in Greater Manchester told Middle East Eye.
“Thousands of families would have made plans to be with each other, and some probably would have been in bed asleep when the government announced its message late last night,” Naeem said.
So let me get this straight… We had 2 weeks notice to make sure we have face coverings when going out shopping but people in Greater Manchester have 2 hours notice for a local lockdown. Thousands of Muslim families Eid plans cancelled. Nice #EidMubarak message from the Govt 🙃— Fergie (@Furqan_Naeem) July 30, 2020
Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour party, said that announcing measures affecting potentially millions of people late at night on Twitter was “a new low for the government’s communications during this crisis”.
Several critics pointed out that a similar decision would likely not have been made had it been Christmas Eve.
Answer this honestly:— Az (@AzTheBaz) July 30, 2020
Would they have done this at 9pm on Christmas Eve? https://t.co/bg3GzgbPUQ
“With the first day of Eid being today, for Muslims in the affected areas, it is like being told they cannot visit family and friends for Christmas on Christmas Eve itself,” Harun Khan, the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, said in a statement on Friday.
“The UK government has failed to provide clarity on the shockingly short notice and the reasoning behind the new rules that British Muslims deserve – any such clarification would be most welcome,” Khan said.
Muslims in the north of England noted the contradiction that while they were not allowed to meet family members inside households, restaurants and pubs were still open.
Pouring a cold pint of mango lassi tomorrow in the pub as I socially distant meet my muslim family who I can only meet in a pub according to the government— Maliha (@malihaeza) July 30, 2020
Government Advice currently says I can't meet my Nan for Eid unless its in Nando's 😔— Ilyas Nagdee (@ilyas_nagdee) July 30, 2020
Syed Rahi, a geography student from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said he couldn’t understand the decision.
“I can’t get my head around it. No one can see me in my house, but they can see me in another enclosed area like a pub or restaurant,” he told MEE.
“If we’re going to do a lockdown, it should be a proper lockdown. Close the shops, close the pubs, don’t just isolate a minority group and make us seem like we’re causing a second wave.”
Adding insult to injury, Conservative member of parliament Craig Whittaker doubled down on the decision, telling radio station LBC that “it is the BAME [Black, Asian and minority ethnic] communities that are not taking this seriously enough”.
Social media users were quick to point out that BAME communities were not responsible for breaking social distancing when pubs reopened in London, during Victory in Europe (VE) day celebrations and on beaches during the heatwave in May.
This is appalling & truly nasty on Eid day from Conservative MP Craig Whittaker.— Miqdaad Versi (@miqdaad) July 31, 2020
Let's not pretend this is anything other than race baiting & trying to #blametheMuslims
I guess it was only a matter of time. https://t.co/Y3epUyJLCq pic.twitter.com/8TIFEAYhnV
Prime Minister Boris Johnson refused to condemn Whittaker’s comments during a Downing Street briefing on Friday.
Wow. Boris Johnson invited to disown comments from Tory MP Craig Whittaker claiming BAME communities were to blame for the great majority of lockdown-breaking… and he doesn't. Says "ultimately it’s up to everybody" to tackle coronavirus. That feels like a tacit endorsement.— Peter Walker (@peterwalker99) July 31, 2020
The local lockdown did not affect Eid prayers, which went ahead as planned across the UK with social distancing in place.
The MCB published advice last week on how to celebrate Eid safely, including avoiding hugging and shaking hands, and performing congregational prayers outdoors.
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