Douglas Murray

Finsbury Park attack: We need a consistent response to terror

Finsbury Park attack: We need a consistent response to terror
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So it seems that it has happened again. A third terrorist attack in as many months on London’s streets. Once again using a vehicle. Once again aimed at Londoners.

Except that this time it seems the terrorist himself is not a follower of Isis. Indeed, reports suggest that the attacker may have been a non-Muslim deliberately targeting Muslims. On top of whatever other extremist motivations this attacker may have had, he was also unwittingly doing the work of Isis and similar groups. For if the attack in Finsbury Park was indeed aimed at Muslim worshippers as they were leaving their Mosque then this is exactly the sort of despicable attack that Isis would want to happen, to foment discord. Our whole nation’s thoughts will be with the injured and the family of the person who has died. Those worshippers leaving their mosque who held down the attacker until police arrived on the scene showed special courage and, along with the police, deserve special admiration.

Of course we now live in an era of the politicisation of absolutely everything. For instance, over the last week the far-left in Britain has attempted to claim there is ‘blood on the hands’ of Theresa May and her government for the terrible tragedy (which they are labelling ‘a crime’) at Grenfell Tower in London. Over the weekend they organised protests to demand the resignation of the government and incited already angry citizens to further their political ends. All this with no evidence whatsoever that the Conservative government had anything to do with the burning down of a tower-block in London. This is how the remaining civilities of political discourse disappear.

Now with the attack in Finsbury Park there will be more of the same. The same people who claim that no further extrapolation should be made from a British Muslim carrying out an Isis-inspired attack will extrapolate like mad if it turns out that a British non-Muslim has done the same thing. Yet who would not want there to be as full an investigation as possible into any far-right motivation that may have spurred such an attack? As with the investigation into the killer of Jo Cox, who would not want there to be as full an investigation as possible into whether there are others around hoping to do similar acts or people encouraging them to drive vehicles into crowds of innocent people?

All that is needed is some consistency. At present the same people whose response to any act of terror carried out in the name of Islam is that everybody should look away, and respond with no more than a chorus of ‘Don’t look back in anger’ are now pretending that everyone they disagree with has spent years inciting people to drive vans at crowds of Londoners. I see that JK Rowling is among those pointing the finger at Nigel Farage.

Here’s a test. Yesterday the annual Khomeinist ‘Al-Quds Day’ parade took place in London. The march calls for the destruction of the state of Israel and in our allegedly zero-tolerance-to-terror city of London supporters of the terrorist group Hezbollah openly paraded with the terrorist group’s flags. What twist of popular logic allows that people waving the flags of a terrorist group in London on Sunday have no connection with terror, but that a van-driver committing an act of terror later that same day should be blamed on Nigel Farage?

If it does turn out that Sunday evening’s terrorist was a non-Muslim deliberately targeting Muslims here are some things you will not hear:

  • Nobody will claim that we must rethink our foreign policy to better align itself with the views of the attacker.
  • Nobody will claim that we must carry out an analysis of all other views held by the terrorist, the better to understand ‘where he is coming from’ and then act on them.
  • There will be no talk of ‘legitimate grievances’.
  • Nobody will blame the ‘Prevent’ programme for the attack or claim that the already existing far-right element of the Prevent programme must be completely scrapped or wholly re-thought.  More likely is that there will be calls for this element to receive even more resourcing than it currently does.
  • Written byDouglas Murray

    Douglas Murray is Associate Editor of The Spectator. His most recent book The Madness of Crowds: Gender, Race and Identity is out now.

    Topics in this articleSocietyterrorism