It must seem to many people that our country is under attack. The attacks at Westminster, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and not least Finsbury Park have shocked us all – no matter your colour, culture or faith. Those events are and were truly terrible, innocent people have lost their lives and whole families have had their lives irreversibly changed forever. My family know and understand the pain that losing a loved to an act of terror causes. All of them are in our hearts, thoughts and prayers.
What is also tragic are the many thousands who have had their lives affected by hate crimes. They too are victims of terror no matter the supposed reason for the attack. The rise in hate crimes has increased enormously. A hate crime is the result of an act of terror. Acts of terror have one design and that is to cause division and breed hatred in our society. The perpetrators do not care about the victims, it is the effect that the terror act has that matters.
After the Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester attacks there was a steep rise in the number of attacks on Muslim communities in Britain. Those attacks also were the motivation behind the Finsbury Park Mosque attack.
I was fairly close to all of these domestic terror attacks, apart from Finsbury Park. I attended the vigils held after those attacks. Even though, like so many others, my heart was filled with sadness for those affected, I took away so much strength and hope from what I witnessed. What I witnessed was truly amazing, I saw people of all faiths and none coming together to share their grief and sadness. I saw humanity standing together against such despicable acts of terror. I saw people regardless of colour and culture supporting each other. I saw true courage and nobility.
These attacks all had one thing in common and that was to cause more division and hatred. They failed. What defines our nation is that though we have been faced with these cowardly attacks by the lowest form of life, we have stood together. The families of those who died, those injured have all spoken against hatred, they have all called for no reprisals.
Shown such courage and humanity how can we, when faced with our own hatred for someone, some group of people, some religion or be confronted with hatred towards ourselves act in a lesser way.
You could understand the victims and victims’ families if they acted in hatred, however they have not. So, let them show us the way and act for that higher path of humanity and not that path downwards into more hatred and division.
Acting in hatred only breeds more hatred. The vicious cycle then repeats and the only winners are those terrorists that started it all. If people act as I have described then they in their own way are making it easier for these terrorists to continue spreading their own message unchallenged. If we act in hatred then we are doing the job of the terrorists for them. They want division, they want hatred, they want hate crime. They want communities at each other’s throats. It doesn’t matter what culture you come from, what colour, what faith, what creed you are – if you live in Britain, and if you believe in Britain, then you are British.
Us Scots, us Welsh, us Irish, us English, us Brits, we have shown you what happens when you attack our people, our communities, we won’t give in to your ways, We Stand Together and in right royal fashion we are not afraid to say it loud and proud.