My early thoughts on the latest terrorist atrocity, this time at Finsbury park mosque, are down to one thing: how was the terrorist radicalised? It appears he was a “clean shaven” white man, so what was that inspired a clean shaven white man to kill people? Several people and organisations are in the frame.
High in the list must be Nigel Farage who has spent his entire political life losing elections and stirring up hatred, culminating in the evil posters before last June’s disastrous EU referendum. If you are given as much air time and space on newsprint as Farage, it is surely possible that some people, probably not the sharpest tools in the box, will see Farage as the some kind of anti-establishment man of the people who says things that other racists and bigots are afraid to say. In their eyes, Farage’s poison is mainstream opinion. The former, and probably future, Ukip leader has attempted to legitimise xenophobia and racism. I’d say his hands are covered in blood.
Speaking of hands covered in blood, step forward Paul Dacre of the Mail who has been stoking up hatred at the Mail ever since he became editor. Barely a day goes by without foreigners being blamed for all our failings. It would be wrong to say that all Mail readers are racists, bigots and xenophobes but by buying a newspaper that actively supports and promotes hate – and don’t be so stupid as to suggest it doesn’t – they condone it, unwittingly or not. You can obviously add the Sun and the stark ravingly bonkers Express to the list of haters and again if you buy the filth they come out with you are part of the problem.
And then you have the rent-a-mouth thugs like the EDL’s Tommy Robinson, Britain First and all manner of extreme figures and groups on the far right and you have a society in which an awful lot of people think it is perfectly reasonable to drive a van at a group of people whose crime happens to be the religion in which they believe.
The latest attack happens, ironically, the day after the Great Get Together which happened a year after the murder of the Labour MP Jo Cox by a right wing terrorist. We do not yet know the motives of the man who mowed down innocent people last night but we will soon find out. It is instructive to learn that when the man was caught last night his life was saved by the Imam. What an amazing act. After such an attack, who among us would have protected a thug from the mob until the police arrived? I’m not sure I would have done.
A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist. Last night’s awful attack was no different and no less disgusting from, say, the Westminster attack. And as we seek to discover how some muslims are radicalised we do well to do the same with “clean shaven” white men.