Equality: We must tackle terrorism scourge

editorial image

On Wednesday I woke up to the news that 30 innocent Syrians had been killed and scores had been needlessly injured.

As I contemplated that tragedy (there’s been so many), it was later that afternoon that the full force of the tragedy hit me, when I witnessed another horrific tragedy at home, in Westminster, witnessing the suffering of so many.

The scene outside the Houses of Parliament

The scene outside the Houses of Parliament

Like most of us, my heart sank.

Though as a Muslim, I realised that there was a strong likelihood that this was probably another terrorist attack in the name of a faith I practised, as probably did some three million people in the UK and 1.6 billion people worldwide – yet I did not recognise this “imposter faith” that was being claimed by this evil man.

The verse from the Quran “if any one killed a person, it would be as if he killed the whole of mankind; and if anyone saved a life it would be as if they saved the life of whole mankind”, reverberated in my mind throughout that day.

The following day Brendan Cox, the husband of the late West Yorkshire Labour MP Jo Cox stated that the man committing this atrocity was no more a Muslim than the man who murdered his wife – this statement perfectly summed it up.

Let me say clearly his crimes have as much to do with Islam as they do with Christianity

Since Wednesday there has been a national post-mortem – with Muslims playing out national acts of kindness for the victims, and doing the usual condemning.

MPs have been making statements along the lines of “we will not be divided”, and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, well, blaming immigrants.

I know that there are many Muslims who fear a backlash, on the other hand, I also know of Muslims who have already suffered a backlash too.

As a columnist, and as a Muslim I think it is important to state that the man who committed this atrocity grew up in a Christian household, had a 20-year history of committing abhorrent crimes, and when he committed a further crime in the name of his version of Islam, suddenly his life and acts became the responsibility of Muslims.

Aerial view of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster following a terrorist attack. 23 March 2017.

Aerial view of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster following a terrorist attack. 23 March 2017.

Let me say clearly, his crimes have as much to do with Islam as they do with Christianity, let’s also note that this bloke was English and British.

The fact is, if I was considering my faith in the context of the terrorist act on Westminster, it would be emphasising the bravery of our emergency services, “first they stopped the evil act, protected people, disarmed the evil, prayed for and supported the victims, then in their infinite compassion tried to save the life of the person who committed this evil act too, because they realised compassion has no boundaries, even if we have to show it to those who do us harm”.

These are the selfless acts that unite good people – irrespective of race, nationality or religion.

For me, if we really want to tackle this scourge of terrorism, the Government needs to take some actions quickly.

These actions need to address the following six points.

n Make a distinction between those people who dissent and have grievances so we can discuss them openly, and those people who have warped ideological views of the world

n Stop the oxygen to the terrorists by stopping all media coverage which glorifies their reasons for carrying out the acts they do.

n Beat the terrorists with their own stick – to publicly disown their claim of faith, so take away this man’s adopted name and use his real name .

n We must improve our image across the world, away from being a prominent arms trader.

n Recognise that Muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism across the world , and despite this, they are consistently condemned.

n Above all we must develop a strategy to stop people feeling marginalised in society and vulnerable to radicalisation and hate, so that we can really stop this cancer that is hurting our communities.

n Nadeem’s next Telegraph column will appear in a fortnight’s time.