Police subdued a man with a knife in an East London tube station Saturday night, stopping what was allegedly a terrorist attack. Of course there’s concern about the attacker’s identity and his possible motivation, but the part of the incident the internet has seized on came after the man was already tasered and subdued on the ground: An onlooker shouted “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv!”
Coming on the same weekend that U.S. president Barack Obama delivered another speech urging his audience not to blindly conflate “Muslim” and “terrorist,” the bystander’s condemnation of the man with the knife has become kind of a catchphrase for our terror-filled times. #YouAintNoMuslimBruv trended on Twitter as video of the incident started to spread, and most agreed it was the most stereotypically “London” response to an attack that they could think of:
The pithy phrase even made its way up to British prime minister David Cameron, who used it in an address on Sunday, much to the public’s amusement.
Cameron praised the man who coined the phrase, saying, “Some of us have dedicated speeches and media appearances, and soundbites and everything to this subject but ‘you ain’t no Muslim, bruv’ said it all, much better than I ever could and thank you, because that will be applauded all around the country.”
A fair point, but the meaning of Cameron’s words was secondary to the awkwardness of the Eton-educated conservative prime minister putting on his best working-class-London voice and saying “bruv.” Look at the way he punctuates each word with his fist. It couldn’t be more perfect.
And with that, “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv” has served its purpose and has been officially retired.