22 May 2013


Firstly and foremost, my thoughts are with family of the soldier killed in Woolwich today. The death of a loved one is hard enough, but to have to hear about the brutality with which his life was ended, in broad daylight, in the middle of a London street, will make it harder still.

The two men who have committed this crime are not Muslim. The atrocity they have committed betrays any religion they might claim to follow (link - Islam for Peace). Timothy McVeigh and Ander Breivik were not Christians. Love thy neighbour.

Secondly, my thoughts are with many of my friends, my colleagues and non-white communities around the country. We must be realistic that attacks on people by white racists may happen as a reaction to this. Innocent individuals are at risk and will sleep a little less easily tonight. There are a great many on the far right of British politics that will seek to exploit this.

Finally, I feel that everyone in Britain tonight will feel a little less secure. This type of "lone wolf" attack is not something that our intelligence services can eliminate. A random individual at any time and any place, with a knife or a gun, is far harder to prevent that a suicide bomber.

It is understandable to have these fears, but the risks to us all tomorrow are the same as the ones we faced today. We are far more likely to be injured in a traffic accident or be a victim of crime, than to experience a terrorist attack. Fear can divide good people from one another. When we wake up tomorrow, we must redouble our efforts to promote tolerance and understanding, and to support those who feel afraid. We must not shirk from the challenge of tackling those who will seek to exploit division and promote hatred.

A man died in a horrendous way in our country. Our thoughts are with his family. Around the world, many other men, women and children have also died. Let us also do in our lives what we can to change our wider world, so that all peoples on the planet we all share can live in safety, free from atrocities, exploitation and fear.

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