The need to tackle far right extremism

Shortly before 00:20 n Monday 19th June a van mounted a pavement and drove into people near Muslim Welfare House and Finsbury Park Mosque. The police have confirmed that all the victims were Muslims and the suspect has been arrested.

Nine people were taken to hospital after the attack. Makram Ali, 51, died around the time of the attack, but whether it is directly related is unclear at the time of writing.

Thankfully, all of those who were taken to hospital with injuries are now out of critical care, but that doesn’t mean the effects won’t last with the victims for a lifetime.

The Muslim Council of Great Britain has called for increased security outside Mosques as a matter of urgency, considering we are approaching the end of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid. They also call for transformative action to be taken to tackle attacks on Muslims and Islamophobia.

Tim Farron, made a statement on the same day of the attack:

The Finsbury Park attack is senseless barbarism. Yet again we are rocked by a horrific incident for which there is no rhyme or reason.

People who commit these heinous acts want to divide us, force us to turn in on ourselves and fight each other. We cannot and must not let them win. Our values matter, we must stand together.

My deepest sympathies are with the victims and their families.

I would like to pay tribute to the bravery and dedication of the emergency services, who, yet again, have gone above and beyond to help those in need. In these moments while others run in the opposite direction, our emergency services run towards danger.

The perpetrator needs appropriate punishment, but the networks that promote violence and hatred of Muslims need to be targeted too. No comment inciting hatred to anyone should go unchallenged.

Please add your comments below on how we can tackle this scourge.

* Eddie Sammon is a member of the Lib Dems in France and a regular reader of and commenter on Liberal Democrat Voice.

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7 Comments

  • paul barker 21st Jun '17 - 3:48pm

    There are 3 suspicious factors in this attack –
    1, Why did the attacker hire a van from a town 20 miles away, a town known as a centre of Far-Right activity ?
    2, Where did he get the money, he was unemployed & hire firms usually want a deposit.
    3, The van hire firm deny any Far-Right sympathies but the son of one of the owners has been arrested for Hate speech in a comment on the attack.
    Just how much of a Lone Wolf was the attacker ?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 21st Jun '17 - 4:59pm

    Eddie , as ever, concentrating on the mainstream , the areas that matter.

    We need to continue to promote liberal democracy, and as a party, Liberal Democracy should come easily, more than to most, though some people malice not intended, do stretch it sometimes in this party , neither Liberal, but socialist or conservative in their attitudes , and undemocratic in their behaviour !

    We need to toughen up , but recognise in the desire for greater security, we do so to protect liberty.

    And we need to utilise Maajid Nawaz more, whether controversial or not, he is more popular than ever also, beyond the party , a real asset in this era, onwards.

    More than anything we need to unify in the centre ground on much of our agenda, it is the only way to heal our country.

    Macron is doing it , we could more so, but who can emerge ?

  • Eddie Sammon 21st Jun '17 - 5:23pm

    Paul, good point about the arrest of the person believed to be the son of one of the hire firm’s bosses. Indeed, how much of a lone actor was the attacker?

    Lorenzo, thanks! I Agree about Maajid Nawaz. He is strong on anti-extremism wherever it comes from and a casual observer contacted me recently saying they were impressed by him on LBC radio.

  • I’m not convinced that all the attacks are really terrorism or predictable or even political in a clear cut way. The Westminster attack and this one seem to have a fair bit in common in that as far as we know they appear to be the work of disgruntled middle aged men reacting violently to something they’ve seen in the news. Although, obviously in this case the attacker survived and is still under investigation so we have to be careful about speculating.

  • I’ed echo Glenn’s comment about not speculating, particularly to Paul Barker. If the police have arrested the man and are investigating, if there is a network then they can find it. Speculating about a family that owns a local business after a horrible attack is not going to be helpful. Perhaps there are connections perhaps not, but it doesn’t do anyone any good speculating. Would you start making insinuations about the families or neighbours of every terrorist? I suspect not.

    We have the police for good reason let them investigate, details will emerge at the trial surely we can wait for that.

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Jun '17 - 5:22pm

    Hi, I agree that too much speculation is bad but it’s fair to bring up the arrest of someone else with connections to the van company. He has now been released without charge:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-40368076

  • Eddie Sammon:
    “No comment inciting hatred to anyone should go unchallenged”

    Did you protest about the anti-Israel Al Quds day – a march of hate against a people and a country?

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