Terror attack survivors warn over anti-Muslim hate

Brendan Cox, co-founder of Survivors Against Terrorism, said: “Anyone using the issue (of extremism) to seek tactical party advantage risks undermining that consensus and making our efforts less successful…reports Asian Lite News

A group of more than 50 survivors of Islamist terror attacks in the UK have signed an open letter warning politicians against tarring British Muslims as extremists.

The letter against anti-Muslim hate was coordinated by Survivors Against Terror, a network of people in the UK and British people overseas who have been affected by terrorism.

Signatories include Rebecca Rigby, the widow of Lee Rigby, a soldier who was stabbed to death in London in 2013, as well as Paul Price, whose partner Elaine McIver was killed in the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing.

The letter reads: “To defeat this (extremist) threat the single most important thing we can do is to isolate the extremists and the terrorists from the vast majority of British Muslims who deplore such violence.

“In recent weeks there have been too many cases where politicians and others have failed to do this; in some cases equating being Muslim with being an extremist, facilitating anti-Muslim hate or failing to challenge it.”

The signatories say defeating Islamism and extremism should be a “national priority” and they are “only too aware” of the threat posed by terrorism.

But they are saddened by a series of controversies in which major political figures in the UK have conflated Islam with extremism.

Last month, the former deputy chair of the governing Conservative Party, Lee Anderson, was suspended after claiming that Islamists had “got control” of Sadiq Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor.

Suella Braverman, the former home secretary, also faced controversy after warning that “the Islamists, the extremists and the antisemites are in charge now,” referring to pro-Palestine protests that have taken place in London amid the Gaza conflict.

Their comments are “playing into the hands of terrorists,” signatories to the letter believe.

Darryn Frost, who fended off a terrorist who had killed two people near London Bridge in 2019, said: “I think it’s dangerous when any of our leaders marginalise communities and paint a very broad brush.

“People need to consider the power of their words because they have the power to incite further hatred.” The letter is being published ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Christchurch mosque killings on March 15.

The attack, carried out by a far-right terrorist, led to the murder of more than 50 Muslims in the New Zealand city.

Brendan Cox, co-founder of Survivors Against Terrorism, said: “Anyone using the issue (of extremism) to seek tactical party advantage risks undermining that consensus and making our efforts less successful.

“The message from survivors of attacks is clear: you can play politics all you like, but not with the safety of our country.” Among the 57 signatories is Magen Inon, whose parents were killed during the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel.

The letter coincides with UK government plans to update the official definition of extremism, which will allow authorities to suspend ties or funding to groups found to have exceeded the new definition.

Currently, extremism is defined by the government as “vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs.”

Communities Secretary Michael Gove, who is leading the change, has claimed that pro-Palestine marches in London have included groups who are “trying to subvert democracy,” and that some pro-Palestine events have been organized by “extremist” organizations.

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