Praise for King’s Cross Ramadan messages, double standards cited after takedown

London’s King’s Cross station removed the daily mention of a hadith on its departure boards earlier in the week after the messages triggered Islamophobic and xenophobic backlash.

Despite the criticism from right-wing media outlets and far-right voices on social media, many praised King’s Cross’s efforts to embrace diversity and represent the multicultural nature of the capital.

The hadith passages, recorded sayings of the prophet, were part of an ongoing daily campaign to mark Ramadan. Passengers shared photos of the messages on social media, with many praising the initiative.

But one specific hadith displayed on Tuesday, the ninth day of Ramadan, ignited the main backlash from those already opposed to any Muslim messages appearing at the station.

“The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: All the sons of Adam are sinners but the best of the sinners are those who repent often,” the message read.

Network Rail, which owns and operates King’s Cross, caved into the pressure and said the message should not have been displayed. It added that it was investigating why “general Ramadan celebratory messages weren’t used” instead.

Right-wing media outlets and secular organisations condemned the religious symbolism, while others voiced more overt xenophobic sentiments, questioning the appropriateness of displaying a Muslim message in a “Christian country.”

Yet many more applauded the inclusive display and highlighted the hypocrisy of the criticism, noting that messages celebrating other faiths’ festivals also appear at the station. 

Network Rail pointed out that its messaging reflects the beliefs of colleagues and passengers on occasions like Easter, Christmas, Passover, and Diwali. 

The BBC and other publications highlighted the positive comments the initiative received, including Islam Channel’s tweet: “The beauty of Ramadan in unexpected places.”

“A Ramadan hadith spotted at King’s Cross Station reminds us of the blessings and wisdom this holy month brings.”

Celebrating the diversity of Britain

Many applauded the display. Supporters argued that displaying Islamic messages celebrates the nation’s diversity and, contrary to the conspiracy theories, Muslims do not get special treatment. 

On X/Twitter, a user wrote: ‘People being like ‘where’s the bible verses?’ there usually is in train stations and all over the country during Christmas, and sometimes other Christian holidays too. It’s Ramadan right now, of course there is going to be a hadith. Ramadan Mubarak.’ 

Another said: ‘Why are all the snowflakes getting offended by this?’

Amos Schofield, trustee of British Jewish organisation Yachad UK, said: “This was a lovely way to share thought from the Muslim tradition over Ramadan, and I’d want just the same for any faith (including & especially my own) to be celebrated in the public square. @networkrail obviously should’ve stood their ground on this.”

In a tweet thread, another X user said the ’racists’ were angry and that this whole episode is about “how some people think other people should feel less comfortable so they can feel more comfortable…”

No, Muslims don’t get special treatment

As many social media users pointed out, there seems to be a double standard – displays celebrating other religions do not typically face the same level of backlash and hostility.

Criticism was led by humanist and secular organisations, whose views can sometimes enable Islamophobes and xenophobes to jump and attack an already marginalised community.   

Stephen Evans, chief executive of the National Secular Society, told GB News: “At best it’s a well-meaning yet misguided and counterproductive attempt at inclusivity. 

“Such gestures suggest favouritism, generating resentment and the inevitable demands from other religious or identity groups for equal recognition.”

Network Rail has constantly reminded critics that they display messages from other faiths as well. 

Earlier in the week, a spokesperson said: “King’s Cross station is made up of a diverse and multicultural workforce and at times of religious significance, messages such as these are displayed to celebrate the station’s diversity and inclusivity.

“Throughout the year, messaging at the station also celebrates festivals from other religions including Easter, Christmas, Passover, and Diwali to mark the beliefs of our colleagues and passengers.

“If significant disruption occurs on the network, the boards are changed to display relevant passenger information to help passengers complete their journeys.”


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