As the nation was glued to their television screens, a small but important fact missed many by. This fact, was that the Ukrainian lead singer known as Dzjamala, is in fact a Muslim female – Susanna Jamaladinova.
Dzjamala performed the song “1944” during the Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm and was born in Kirghiz (Kyrgyzstan) to a Crimean Tatar father and an Armenian mother. Both Dzjamala and her father are Muslims and with her mother being Christian and her family are in fact a microcosm of the mix of faiths and the co-existence of Christian and Muslim histories in our continent.
During Stalin’s era many Tatars were treated with particular disdain and many lost their lives as they were transported from areas like the Ukraine, Poland and Lithuania to gulags around the Soviet Union. This relocation meant that Dzjamala was born in Kyrgyzstan, though when Ukraine gained independence, she returned back to her ancestral home.
Dzjamala’s win comes on the back of a year which has seen London elect a Mayor who is a Muslim and with the ‘Great British Bake Off’ being won by Nadiya in 2015. We say that those promoting anti-Muslim hatred and bigotry, that they are in the minority and they do not speak for our country or the majority of voices within them.
We also have to make clear that there are some groups purporting to advocate for British Muslims who promote a corrosive victim narrative suggesting that Muslims have no future in Europe and that they are perpetual victims. Your narrative is also defunct and downright dangerous. Muslims have a future in Europe and will continue to do so and in fact Dzjamala’s story reflects this very fact.
There may well be difficult times in the future around the place of Muslims in Europe, though this will never take away from the fact that Europe needs Muslims as much as Muslims need Europe. This relationship which has lasted over a thousand years will continue and shows that those who sell perpetual victimhood sell a busted flush.