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Wrong through and through

Jun 20,2017 - Last updated at Jun 20,2017

The terrorist attack on people leaving a mosque in north London early on Monday is an act of hatred that raises fear of more such attacks.

A man drove a van targeting Muslim worshippers leaving after the late evening prayers, leaving one person dead and several injured, two in very serious condition, according to the police.

The Finsbury Park mosque attack, treated by authorities as a terrorist act, comes after a series of other terrorist attacks in London: a vehicle used to mow down pedestrians on London Bridge in early June, and a car and knife rampage in Westminster in March, claimed by Daesh.

This latest “attack on London and all Londoners”, as senior counterterrorism officer for the Metropolitan Police Neil Basu put it, is considered by some another manifestation of the increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes.

According to the head of the Muslin Council of Britain, “over the past weeks and months, Muslims have endured many incidents of Islamophobia and this is the most violent manifestation to date”.

Islamophobia is on the rise in the West, and the terrorist attacks claimed by extremist groups like Daesh make things worse.

If anything, as can be seen, a vicious circle of hatred has been created that bodes ill for communities in many places.

The attack on the mosque-going people could have been a misguided act of revenge for the London Bridge terrorist act perpetrated by members of the Muslim community in the UK.

Whatever the justification, such acts are wrong, on all sides.

This escalation does not bode well for normal relations between Muslims in the West and local communities.

There are large Muslim communities in most Western capitals and efforts must be made to promote inter-faith coexistence.

In the latest London attack, neighbours came out in the street holding up signs that said “We love our mixed community” or “Leave our Muslim neighbours alone”.

But efforts have to be made at official state level and by Muslim figures who enjoy the respect of and have a marked standing among fellow Muslims before hatred get the better of the two sides.

Campaigns, or even prayers, for better relations among religious communities are not enough. Institutional measures have to be taken in this direction, starting with appropriate legislation that criminalises religious and ethnic hatred.

Special tribunals may need to be created and media should be mobilised for this purpose.

Nations cannot allow this situation to fester any longer as its treatment can only become more difficult as time passes. 

British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called “on everyone to stand together against those who seek to divide us”.

That is wise advice that should be followed by concrete measures.

 

The acts of a few misguided individuals — of whatever political or religious persuasion — cannot be used to label and guide the behaviour of entire communities or nations.

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