Attacks against Muslim communities is becoming an issue of increasing concern

While we do not know all the details of what happened in London, in Finsbury Park it looks like a deliberate attack against the Muslim community. In your opinion, how big is a threat of reprisal attacks against Muslim community after couple of attacks conducted by Islamist extremists, how should security forces (society?) react? Read few comments.

Sam MullinsProfessor of Counterterrorism, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies

The threat of right-wing motivated attacks against Muslim communities is becoming an issue of increasing concern throughout Europe and North America. Both right-wing and Islamist-motivated attacks feed off one another – each side using the actions of the other to justify and incite further violence. The danger is that a self-reinforcing cycle of violence may develop. That said, there have been many inspiring messages of solidarity from Londoners that clearly demonstrate that the vast majority of people do not want this and will not allow it to happen.

Sara Silvestri, Senior Lecturer in International Politics, City University London

Unfortunately Muslim communities in this and other European countries as well as in the USA have been on the receiving end of verbal abuse and physical violence for a long time, even from before 9.11. It is quite sad to notice that the general public was completely unaware of this phenomenon and needed such a violent act to wake up to the problem. Muslim individuals are regularly called names and several mosques and Muslim community centres have been vandalised in the last 20 years. In addition, members of other faith communities who belong to ethnic minorities are often ‘mistaken’ as Muslims by the public and therefore also end up suffering from such attacks and abuse. According to a prominent Muslim NGO based in London, Faith Matters, the daily rate of Anti-Muslim attacks in the UK has increased five fold in the UK since the Manchester attacks. Basically we have seen such reprisals peak after each attacks that was carried out by people who claimed to act in the name of Islam. But vengeance is not the way forward for democratic societies. A temporary measure – not a long term solution – to avoid these incidents would be to offer more protection to places of worship in general . In fact the UK government has a special pot of money for this purpose. But I don’t think this is a long term solution because what we really need is to rebuild trust among communities, not more people in arms.

Gilbert RamsayLecturer in International Relations, Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence (CSTPV), University of St Andrews

I think that the short answer is that we don’t know. Broadly, the far-right in Britain is arguably in a measure of disarray at the moment. The EDL has been knocked by the defection of its leader, Tommy Robinson. The BNP has virtually disappeared. Groups like Britain First seem to have more or less given up on electoral politics; and UKIP, which has in the recent past tried to present a more moderate image, ran a relatively hard-right, anti-immigrant campaign at the election two weeks ago and suffered a precipitous collapse in its vote share. Formal organisations aren’t needed for people to carry out lone attacks like this one, but some sort of engagement with extremist milieu does tend to be the pattern. The institutional decline of hard right politics in Britain doesn’t, of course, mean that violence becomes less likely – if groups are going underground it might make it morel likely. This certainly isn’t an isolated incident of Islamophobic violence in the UK, but it is difficult to extrapolate from this one incident whether we can expect to see more of the same.


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