Home

Letter to extremists after the London attack

Extremists seek to drive a stake through the arena of co-existence, to sow fear and hatred. But we Londoners are not going to turn on each other, because that’s not what we do.

Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed
23 March 2017
PA-30645757.jpg

Ambulances line Westminster bridge on 22 March 2017. Ik Aldama/DPA/PA Images. All rights reserved.40 people injured. 4 dead.

An attack likely inspired by ‘international terrorism’ and Islamist-motivated.

We know that Islamist terrorists, from ISIS to al-Qaeda and beyond, target the so-called ‘gray zone’ — the arena of co-existence where people of all faiths and none live and work together.

They want us to turn on each other. They want Muslims and non-Muslims to hate each other, fear each other, and fight each other. That’s the apocalyptic ‘clash of civilisations’ they yearn for.

And what more apt symbol of the ‘gray zone’ than the British Houses of Parliament, and the melting pot of Londoners and tourists that flock to its gates everyday?

But the terrorist attack on London failed.

It failed because London is not going to turn on itself, just because some jumped-up extremist bastard terrified us for a day.

Extremists from the Western and Muslim worlds feed off each other like cannibalistic vultures, selling the same divisive rhetoric of unmitigated anger and xenophobic hatred.

Oh don’t get me wrong. We have our fair share of fuckwits.

This fuckwit who calls himself ‘Tommy Robinson’ is a former leader of the far right thug-club known as the English Defence League (EDL). He scrambled to the scene of the terror attack on our city, on all of us, and had this to say:

“This is the reality. The reality is these people are waging war on us. This has been going on for 1,400 years and while it’s going on the police leaders and the political leaders want to invite more.”

Sadly, there will always be extremist fuckwits who cynically exploit horrific attacks like the one that occurred on Wednesday afternoon in the heart of London, outside Parliament in Westminster.

People who tweet fake news like this:

Screen Shot 2017-03-23 at 11.16.26 AM.png

Donald Trump Jr. rails at London Mayor Sadiq Khan. https://twitter.com/DonaldJTrumpJr/status/844594059679334400. Donald Trump Jr./Twitter. Public domain.

Here’s what London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, actually said:

“Londoners will never be cowed by terrorism.”

Whether they realise it or not, people like Tommy Robinson and Donald Trump Jr. are effectively accomplices to the terror they claim to oppose.

Because they have the same goals as those who attacked London: to draw a line in the ‘gray zone’, to drive a stake through the arena of co-existence, to stoke fear and hatred among us, to drive a wedge between Muslims and non-Muslims, to destroy unity in diversity.

Extremists from the Western and Muslim worlds feed off each other like cannibalistic vultures, selling the same divisive rhetoric of unmitigated anger and xenophobic hatred. But when they try to turn us Londoners against ourselves, they fail.

They fail because, fundamentally, they are weak.

Compared to what’s gone before, such as the multiple, simultaneous coordinated attacks in Paris, involving heavy weapons, extensive planning and military tactics, the London attack was rudimentary and unsophisticated.

That’s not for want of trying. ISIS has been attempting to arrange an attack on London for the last year, and UK intelligence has picked up heightening signals of attack plans in recent months.

Far from buckling, in the days and weeks ahead, London will take a deep breath and send an upright middle finger to the extremists cheering on this attack, to fuckwits like Tommy Robinson exploiting it to sow division.

Whether or not it was inspired by ISIS, the attack on London was a futile act of cowardly desperation that demonstrates to the world how pathetic the extremists have become in their burning desire to remain relevant and remembered.

But we Londoners are not going to turn on each other, because that’s not what we do. We get on with things. We carry on. And, even if now and again we’re all a bit uptight and rushed — we carry each other.

Far from buckling, in the days and weeks ahead, London will take a deep breath and send an upright middle finger to the extremists cheering on this attack, to fuckwits like Tommy Robinson exploiting it to sow division, and to their soulmates across the pond like Donald Trump Jr. who still can’t get over the fact that we elected a Muslim to be our Mayor.

It’s starting now: My mate Muddassar Ahmed, who was in parliament when the attack happened, has just launched Muslims United for London along with my wife, Akeela, our friends Hassan Hoque and Mohammed Marika, and British MPs, Naz Shah and Yasmin Qureshi. The project is simple: raise money to support the victims and their families.

Yeah. This is London. Feel free to chip in.

Because London is for all of us, and we’re all London. We don’t care what colour you are, what country your parents were born, what religion you follow, or don’t, what your sexuality is, what your hair’s like, whether your clothes are fashionable or not.

But we do care about our city, a city where we’re all free to be who we are and find who we want to be, in whatever way we choose. And no bomb, bullet, or knife will ever change that.

This article was originally published under the title 'A Love Letter to extremists after the London attack' on Medium.

Stop the secrecy: Publish the NHS COVID data deals


To: Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

We’re calling on you to immediately release details of the secret NHS data deals struck with private companies, to deliver the NHS COVID-19 datastore.

We, the public, deserve to know exactly how our personal information has been traded in this ‘unprecedented’ deal with US tech giants like Google, and firms linked to Donald Trump (Palantir) and Vote Leave (Faculty AI).

The COVID-19 datastore will hold private, personal information about every single one of us who relies on the NHS. We don’t want our personal data falling into the wrong hands.

And we don’t want private companies – many with poor reputations for protecting privacy – using it for their own commercial purposes, or to undermine the NHS.

The datastore could be an important tool in tackling the pandemic. But for it to be a success, the public has to be able to trust it.

Today, we urgently call on you to publish all the data-sharing agreements, data-impact assessments, and details of how the private companies stand to profit from their involvement.

The NHS is a precious public institution. Any involvement from private companies should be open to public scrutiny and debate. We need more transparency during this pandemic – not less.


By adding my name to this campaign, I authorise openDemocracy and Foxglove to keep me updated about their important work.

Had enough of ‘alternative facts’? openDemocracy is different Join the conversation: get our weekly email

Comments

We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.
Audio available Bookmark Check Language Close Comments Download Facebook Link Email Newsletter Newsletter Play Print Share Twitter Youtube Search Instagram WhatsApp yourData