COMMENTATORS across the political spectrum have been in reflective mood following Monday night’s suicide attack on an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena, which left 22 people dead reports The Week. In London
The loudest message is one of unity and hope, with The Guardian’s Owen Jones saying the city’s response has amply demonstrated that twisted hatred “cannot begin to match the love and solidarity of Manchester”.[The Guardian was formerly The Manchester Guardian.]
While there are “vultures driven by hatred already circling over this atrocity”, he says, “let’s emphasise all the things that unite this diverse society, and reject those who urge us to do otherwise”.
Mancunians will “rally together” now as they did in the face of IRA terror 20 years ago, says the Manchester Evening News, adding: “Today, tomorrow, the next day and beyond, we can show the terrorists who want to destroy our way of life that they can never win.”
However, the social and political implications of yet another home-grown terrorist perpetrating an attack on UK soil sit uneasily with some commentators.
Andrew Roberts in the Daily Telegraph says police and security services should be applauded for preventing so many plots from turning into attacks, but argues radicalisation is fundamentally a cultural phenomenon and the public must demand an end to the “relentless sectarianism and grievance-mongering which characterises contemporary British Islamism” and insist on integration rather than tolerating ethnic and religious separatism under the guise multiculturalism.
He adds: “British culture and especially history should be promoted as something of which British Muslims should be proud.”
Piers Morgan says every sinew in his body “is pulsating with blind rage,” partly directed at “members of the community from where this killer came who knew him and did nothing to raise any alarm bells”, he says in the Daily Mail.
“Candle-lit vigils” and calls for “love to conquer hate” are laudable, but “none of this will stop more attacks”.
Instead, it is the responsibility of the Muslim community to “dramatically step up the war on these twisted, deviant minds abusing their religion”, he argues.
Not so, says Dr HA Hellyer, associate fellow in International Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, in CNN.
He argues demanding unconnected Muslims “do more” to stop terror is a “paltry” response, an attempt to offload a responsibility to resist terror which rightly belongs to all of us.
“They’re not responsible for an outrage they had nothing to do with, any more than all white people baptised in Protestant churches had anything to do with Breivik’s murderous rampage in Norway,” adds the academic.
Terrorism is a part of the word we live in, “but it is our collective choice as to how we live in that world”.
Indeed, declaring our refusal to live in fear or to compromise on our values of freedom and tolerance is not merely a wishy-washy nicety, it is the only way to defeat terror, says Daniel Finkelstein in The Times.
Terrorists will continue their bloody campaign of violence as long as they believe it can succeed, he writes, drawing comparisons to the IRA, who believed they could terrorise the public and government into giving in to their demands.
“When it became clear that they were losing, they sought peace,” Finkelstein adds. “The lesson taught by the IRA is that the way to defeat terrorism is to resist it until it stops.”