In a blog for the Huffington Post UK, Brendan Cox, who was married to the Labour MP murdered by a far-right extremist last year, argues the London attacker has as much in common with other people of his faith as his wife’s murderer did with white men from Yorkshire.
Jo Cox died after being shot and stabbed outside her constituency surgery in West Yorkshire by Thomas Mair.
Police today named the man believed to be responsible for the London terror attack as British-born Khalid Masood.
Cox calls for a rejection of combatting “extremism with extremism” and the attitude of those who think “different people shouldn’t mix”. Ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage has blamed immigration for the attack, despite Masood hailing from Kent. Cox writes:
“What I know is that the man who did this is no more representative of British Muslims than the man who killed Jo was representative of white men from Yorkshire.
“Both were extremists, both were terrorists and both should be judged for what they did, not what religion they professed.”
The campaigner adds while the families and friends of the victims will be “in varying degrees of disbelief and shock”, he thinks they will be “heartened to see Britain coming together once again, in quiet determination not to be cowed”. He writes:
“I saw that spirit as I cycled through the streets of London yesterday. It is a resilience born of simple common sense and it convinces me that the terrorists failed again on Wednesday and always will.”
Cox says he prefers to focus on the “hundreds of acts of kindness, bravery and love” rather than “the individual act of hatred and cowardice”, including the “selfless bravery” of PC Keith Palmer, the officer killed at the gates of Parliament. He writes:
“It is those people who represent our country, not the extremists.”
He goes on to contend that “when we come together as communities the terrorists fail”, and “when we open our arms to each other they despair”. He writes:
“They want to take us from unease to suspicion to fear and then to hatred. Our way, the British way, is from dismay to resilience to inclusiveness and then to affirmation of everything we have in common.
“When Jo was killed I sensed that happening around me before I had the time or the ability to analyse what was going on. If a little of that can help sustain those who are suffering today it will make their healing process easier to bear and further strengthen our communities against the extremists and their futile destructiveness.”
In the immediate aftermath, Cox tweeted those who carried out the attack “will not succeed in dividing us”.
Eight people have been arrested in London and Birmingham on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts by detectives investigating the Westminster attack.
The attacker killed two people, a Spanish teacher and American tourist, as he drove a 4X4 down Westminster bridge before he fatally stabbed a police officer in the grounds of parliament and was fatally shot.