At­tacks on Mus­lims fuel fur­ther ter­ror

Reprisals must be pun­ished but it is just as im­por­tant to ed­u­cate how ex­trem­ists thrive on cre­at­ing di­vi­sion

The Scotsman - - Perspective -

Aback­lash against the Mus­lim com­mu­nity in the United King­dom has been feared since the re­cent ter­ror­ist atroc­i­ties in Manch­ester and Lon­don, and the sick­en­ing at­tack on Mus­lims leav­ing a mosque af­ter evening prayers rep­re­sents con­fir­ma­tion of cur­rent ten­sions.

For all the ef­forts made to bring com­mu­ni­ties and faiths to­gether in the fight against ter­ror­ism, there are peo­ple in the UK who do not want to know, have no in­ter­est in rea­son, and will use a ter­ror­ist at­tack on this coun­try as jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for ex­er­cis­ing their prej­u­dice.

This kind of re­sponse plays into the hands of those who want to at­tack Britain and de­stroy our way of life. At­tacks that are claimed to be made in the name of Is­lam are in­tended to cause max­i­mum dam­age, but they are also de­signed to cre­ate di­vi­sion, en­cour­ag­ing some mis­guided el­e­ments of so­ci­ety to be­lieve that the Mus­lim com­mu­nity is the en­emy within.

In re­al­ity, Mus­lims are an in­te­gral part of our so­ci­ety and our econ­omy, the vast ma­jor­ity of them want­ing noth­ing more than the op­por­tu­nity to get on with their nor­mal lives. If any­thing, they loathe ex­trem­ists more than any­one else does, be­cause their con­duct feeds the Is­lam­o­pho­bia that re­sults in reprisals such as the at­tack at Fins­bury Park. Not only are Mus­lims at risk of a ter­ror­ist at­tack on the gen­eral pub­lic, they are also at risk of be­ing at­tacked in re­tal­i­a­tion. It is a des­per­ate po­si­tion to be in, and the fear within Mus­lim com­mu­ni­ties is grow­ing.

Sadly, a re­port pub­lished yes­ter­day by the Scot­tish Po­lice Author­ity has shown that Is­lam­o­pho­bia has a grip in Scot­land, with an in­crease in at­tacks on the Mus­lim com­mu­nity recorded in Ed­in­burgh af­ter the 2015 ter­ror­ist at­tack in Paris. Many Mus­lims were scared to leave their homes, with women fear­ing to wear the hi­jab, fear­ing at­tack.

In­tim­i­da­tion and abuse is a re­sponse fu­elled by ig­no­rance and in­tol­er­ance, but we must not ex­plain it away in such terms. While those who tar­get the Mus­lim com­mu­nity should suf­fer heavy penalty, we must also step up ef­forts to ed­u­cate those who are tak­ing out their anger on peo­ple who only want to live in peace along­side the rest of so­ci­ety, un­til they re­alise that indis­crim­i­nate at­tacks on Mus­lims only deep­ens a sense of Western per­se­cu­tion among sup­port­ers of so-called Islmanic State, and in­creases the like­li­hood of fur­ther ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

“The Con­duc­tors pledge them­selves for im­par­tial­ity, firm­ness and in­de­pen­dence... Their first de­sire is to be hon­est,

the sec­ond is to be use­ful... The great req­ui­sites for the task are only good sense,

courage and in­dus­try”

FROM THE PROSPEC­TUS OF THE SCOTS­MAN, 30 NOVEM­BER 1816

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