YP Comment: Reaching out to every faith

LIKE the rest of the country left bewildered by this week's terrorist outrage, the sense of revulsion that this atrocity was, in fact, committed by an Islamist extremist was shared by the wider Muslim community. They knew, with a growing sense of dread, that they would bear the brunt of the backlash from those too ignorant to understand that Muslims deplore such gratuitous violence equally vehemently and have, since the start of the so-called war on terror, seen far more followers killed than any other faith.

As Angus Robertson, the SNP’s Westminster leader, said: “No terrorist outrage is representative of any faiths.” Powerful words which had even more resonance on the day Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness, the paramilitary-turned-peacemaker, was laid to rest in Northern Ireland in an irony of timing, they help explain why the police have pro-actively sought to reach out to Muslim faith leaders.

A measure of the increased importance now attached to community relations following the 2005 suicide bombings, Britain’s first line of defence is those values – liberty, freedom of speech and democracy – which apply to all. Unlike Irish republicanism, there is no means to negotiate with Daesh – the so-called Islamic State – and its convoluted network of violent sympathisers who have embraced its twisted ideology. As such, it puts an even greater onus on positive relations between the police, and communities of all faiths, to deter those evil terrorists intent on dividing multi-cultural Britain.