Surf London | 10.10.2001 15:20
The stroy basically runs a little like this:
Has anyone heard about this 'warning' which is going about? My friend told me she was on the tube yesterday and there was an Arab guy who was stuck for change for the machines, she lent him 20p and he leaned over and whispered in her ear "Don't go on the tube on Saturday" or something similar! - this hoax has been massaged to fit the context in which it is used, some people have said "Don't go to Brick Lane", Don't go to Brixton market etc..."
This sick hoax which is being spread by peoples friends and family who claim it happened to some close relative or friend and appear genuinely traumitised by the event is exactly that - a hoax. Several people we know have lost all confidence in some friends after being spun the line with the utmost integrity, already aware of other versions of the story.
Is is not certain at this stage, however it is likely that this hoax and other similar ones along with the spreading and absoprption of propoganda across London have led to an atmosphere of suspicion and guilt.
Calls to the police about suspicious persons and packages have skyrocketed with members of the public reporting all manner of suspicious activity, particularly that of Arabs and Muslims.
In three instances which we know of, which would have almost deffinately gone unreported prior to the events in America, Anti-Terrorist branch were called. Once to an electronic device strapped to a lamp-post in Kennington Park Road which proved to be nothing major, once because of 'suspicious activity' on the part of a Muslim and the third which we know of was because two muslims, one of whom was carrying a USA bag were acting suspiciously and peering in cars.
Muslims and Arabs in the UK will be suspicious by definition, many are now living in fear of reprisals, and paranoia (i.e a heightened state of awareness) is rife. - Therefore a muslim man who walks the streets with caution for his personal safety may appear suspicious through his or her natural reactions to fear.
The likelihood that there are dozens let alone thousands of people in the UK or London willing to undertake a suicide mission is very remote, considering there are more than 8 million residents of London alone it is somewhat unfair for people to look judgementally upon the Islamic community, which unfortunately is what is happening.
In casual conversation many Londoners admit to having prejudices about dealing with Muslims following the attacks "You just don't know do you", "any of them could be terrorists", more often than not these were the responses and reactions to everday shopkeepers at convenience stores across London who have run successful businesses for decades, yet now some customers who they have served for years turn their backs on them, or treat them with disrespect and contempt for their ethnic background.
People, particularly in London need to wake up and realise that the chances are EVERY Muslim and Arab who they come across on their daily travels is NOT a terrorist or a fundamentalist.