The recent terrorist attacks have once again brought predictable comment from the right wing. Arguably the UK's most prominent hate-for-pay hack is Katie Hopkins. She takes a staunch stand against immigration, encouraging a divide between Muslims and the rest of us. It's a short-sighted agenda which also happens to be number one on the ISIS to-do list.
You are not going to stop ISIS by preventing immigrants from entering the UK. They are already here. Even if they weren't, modern terrorism is tenacious enough to get in. If Al-Qaeda were capable of pulling off an attack as audacious and complicated as the Twin Towers, border control will be a breeze for ISIS. To even think you might stop them by blocking access is naive and laughable.
Katie and her cohorts willfully ignore the fact that the last big terrorist attack in the UK was homegrown. Three of the men responsible for the 7/7 attacks were born in England so no amount of border control was ever going to stop them.
The only way we can realistically reduce the possibility of future terrorist attacks from groups like ISIS is to prevent more young people joining their ranks. The job description of a suicide bomber is in the title, they don't tend to last for too long. To survive, ISIS need an extended line of disillusioned and isolated youths to groom and radicalise. These kids are in our country right now, they were born here, they didn't come over with the last influx of immigrants.
It's tough being a kid. Even more so if you belong to a section of society which is marginalized. One only has to look at the suicide statistics for young LGBT people to see how desperate it can be growing up oppressed. When you live in a society which appears to hate you, you look for a way out.
Interviews with Muslim youths after the Twin Towers and 7/7 attacks show how life was for them. They were spat at in the streets and moved away from on public transport. They were refused entry into pubs and clubs, a constant cloud of suspicion followed them everywhere. The majority of teenagers are strong enough to handle this treatment but we have to be realistic and realise that a small percentage are not. Some naturally have less confidence, the struggle in life is already difficult enough. The right wing will scoff and say 'Tough, they've got to man up and get on with it.' but that only sidesteps the problem, it doesn't stop it from happening.
Daily confrontation and persecution can make an already-isolated young mind despondent and destructive. Even in the relative safety of their own homes they still encounter hostility on their social media feeds. They see the right-wing rantings of Katie Hopkins and her cronies. Every hate-filled article and comment is strapping the vest on the next suicide bomber. Here. In the UK.
Older teens and young adults who have already succumbed to radicalization are primed to spot new recruits. They reach out to the oppressed kids and the next bomb starts ticking.
We will reduce terrorist attacks if we accept different cultures into our society. If we make them feel included instead of telling them they're not welcome then radicalization becomes much harder. ISIS absolutely need the divide to survive, it's their biggest weapon. The only surefire tactic we have is to take it away from them. Katie Hopkins, through her column with one of the biggest global news agencies, regularly reinforces the divide. She is, without question, pushing people towards ISIS and positively contributing to further terrorist attacks.
Hopkins recently tweeted that all of us who welcomed refugees were responsible for the recent atrocity in Brussels. There is no irony attached to her rhetoric, just contrived opinion to cash in on clickbait. But ultimately at what price?