THE BLOG

Manchester Bombing: Don't Let the Haters Win

23/05/2017 13:45 BST | Updated 25/05/2017 11:46 BST

Those affected by the Manchester bombing - those who have lost loved ones and those who have been injured will be traumatised in a way most of us will never know and can never imagine. They will no doubt carry the real and psychological scars with them for years to come.

But the rest of us - the vast majority of us not directly affected by this attack in the same way need to come together and show those twisted and perverted men behind this that they will not divide us - that they will not change how we go about our lives.

Even if this is the act of one man there are still vile men encouraging the hate filled ideology behind it - or they are inspiring or equipping people like him to do these things.

But we know that almost every single one of the 2.8 million Muslims in the UK want to live peacefully and get on with bringing up their families - we know this because only a tiny, tiny, fraction of these citizens have been involved in terrorism. If it were otherwise we would see it every day.

Muslim citizens have been killed in terrorist attacks in the UK - in the Edgware Road in 2005 - and then afterwards Muslims living nearby feared going home because they thought they would suffer retribution and blame for something that might easily have killed them to.

I know this because the Edgware Road was part of the area I policed in 2005.

But to add to that stark fact - they may also stand accused of secretly sympathising with - or not reporting people who might have been planning terrorist offences. Or it may be something even harder to comply with - not condemning terrorism everyday as if they are to blame for terrorism by not doing so.

It is highly likely that Muslim citizens already pass information to police and have almost certainly helped stop similar attacks. Other Muslims have been the subject of death threats because of their criticism of terrorists. There are reports of Muslim taxi drivers offering free rides home to those effected by the bombing last night in Manchester. No doubt others will be helping in other ways.

The biggest barrier to understanding all these things is that so many British citizens don't know Muslims or don't see them everyday where they live. All they hear about are the attacks and the often Islamophic reporting in some elements of of media.

We should show the evil and hate filled men who would celebrate such an attack that they are on a losing side and have no answers for any decent person of any ethnicity or religion.

This country has been under attack before during the conflict in Northern Ireland - that went on for years but came to an end - as will this current threat one day.

We should also be careful not to blame anyone in the emergency services or the intelligence services who may not have gotten everything right - may have missed something - because we know that they succeed in stopping such attacks day after day and they risk their lives helping people when terrorists sometimes succeed.

There are a minority of haters in all countries and in all communities. They should not be allowed to change the way we live.