“The Terrorist attack on London Bridge on 29 November is utterly condemned. Our thoughts are with families of two people who have died and another three who have been injured in this stabbing attack. The continued targeting of fellow citizens fills me with utter revulsion and it is an aberration to all people of faith and goodwill. The terrible attack shows the twisted mindset of the extremists who are prepared to abuse the rights and liberties they enjoy to attack the freedom of others and the values that our country represents.
The perpetrator, Usman Khan, was known to the authorities, having been convicted for terrorism offences; and the authorities must review how we can deal with known violent criminals so that safety and security of fellow Brits in not threatened. However, after such a tragedy our focus must always be the victims, their families and the heroic bravery of members of the public as well as the emergency services, rather than the perpetrators who so desperately seek publicity. Our communities must stand together against hatred and intolerance and confront all those who promote an ideology and philosophy based on hate and terror.
As chair of Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board, over the last 24 hours, I have attended a number of special services held in Mosques praying for peace in our country, and safety of all. Terrorism has no religion and has no place in our country. British Muslims are united in defeating terrorism and hateful extremism – in all of its manifestations.
My message is clear: the path to violence is not a path to martyrdom or path to Paradise; the path to violence is a path to death and destruction of oneself and others, which is absolutely contrary to the fundamental teachings of Islam.
Even though, ISIS may have fallen, their hatred driven ideology continues to inspire young impressionable individuals across the world. We must confront their evil ideology through a multi-layered approach and fortify our resilience.
We Muslims must also acknowledge that ‘Islamist’ terrorists use religious rhetoric and concepts to manipulate young people’s personal, social and political grievances to turn them into ‘martyrs’. This phenomena is not new and over the centuries many religious zealots – across different religions – have been using this mechanism to recruiting people to fight for their causes, irrespective of how evil those causes may be.
As deputy chair of government’s anti-Muslim Hatred group, I have also been reassuring British Muslims who are understandably worried that this violent attack will increase Islamophobic attacks. The number of anti-Muslim hate incidents reported across Britain increased by almost 600% in the week after a white supremacist killed worshippers at two New Zealand mosques.
Despite the outrage that we feel after a violent attack on our streets, communities must stand together to oppose the acts of hatred or terrorism that divide us. We must show defiance against the coward terrorists, and remain united to rebuild our country where we can all feel safe and secure.”