'You ain't no Muslim' strikes a chord

December 7, 2015, 9:06pm

AP on News24, photo: BBC Radio 4 twitter

London - It's become the rallying cry of many who want the Muslim faith to be separated from the violence some commit in its name: "You ain't no Muslim, bruv."

The comment, heard in the background of a bystander's video following a stabbing at a London Underground station that prosecutors say was a terrorist act, has touched a nerve in Britain and become a trending hashtag on Twitter. Even Prime Minister David Cameron embraced it as a slogan.

"Some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances and sound bites and everything to this subject," Cameron said on Monday. "But 'You ain't no Muslim, bruv' said it all much better than I ever could. And thank you, because that will be applauded around the country."

The remark came on Saturday night after a man with a knife attacked two commuters in east London, reportedly shouting "This is for Syria." As the man is wrestled to the ground by police, who first used a stun gun to subdue him, a bystander shouted at the suspect:

The speaker, whose identity is not known, uses the slang term bruv, for brother.

The remark seems all the more powerful, coming at that heat of the moment, when the blood is literally on the floor. It seemed to touch the anger and frustration that many Muslims feel over being blamed for violence perpetrated by people in the name of Islam.

Salma Yaqoob of the Stop the War Coalition told the BBC that it lifted the spirits and shows how many British Muslims feel.

"It encapsulates the best of British - not just what this individual did but the way people responded to what he said and have added their voices to that message," she said.

Fiyaz Mughal, director of Faith Matters, an anti-extremism group that monitors anti-Muslim attacks, said the comments and the response show how social media can be used to unite people as well as divide them.

"We would say use it as a conversation piece," he said. "Get people to talk about this. Get to know each other. That's the positive thing that can come out of it."

The suspect, Muhaydin Mire, has been charged with attempted murder. His motivation for carrying out the attack is not known, but prosecutors said Monday he had images associated with the Islamic State group on his phone.