Attacks on Muslims fuel further terror
Reprisals must be punished but it is just as important to educate how extremists thrive on creating division
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