Obviously the scale of the Westminster attack was not large in terms of the lives lost and persons left injured. Still the site chosen for the attack - the Westminster Bridge on the iconic Thames close to the British Parliament - has won it global attention.
Obviously the scale of the Westminster attack was not large in terms of the lives lost and persons left injured. Still the site chosen for the attack – the Westminster Bridge on the iconic Thames close to the British Parliament – has won it global attention. It was evident from the site and nature of the attack, apparently carried out for no immediate provocation, that it was largely symbolic. The latest attack lacked in the essential features of a typical terrorist strike like meticulous planning and precise execution. Still the investigators assumed that the attack was “Islamist-related” terrorism and treated it as a terrorist incident. Lights on Eiffel Tower in Paris were switched off in solidarity with the victims – a gesture we did not see when hundreds and thousands of innocent civilians were killed in collateral damage in various conflicts across the world. The British-born yet-to-be-named attacker, single-minded as he was, turned a vehicle into a lethal weapon and raised the question whether it is possible at all to stop a highly motivated individual willing to lose his life from carrying out attacks of the kind in London. Beefing up the security by deploying more security personnel on the streets in itself is hardly enough to avert incidents of this kind. Self-comforting words like, “An attack on free people everywhere”, “We are not afraid”, “Terrorism will not destroy our way of life” and “Our values will prevail” and the linguistic sophistication shown in distinguishing between “Islamic terrorism” and “Ïslamist terrorism” go only a short way to meet and overcome the challenge. To say that the attacker was “inspired by international terrorism” is to say little about geo-political realities. Radicalization does not take place in a vacuum, but in a climate of real or perceived injustice and injury. The identification and tackling of root causes more than tough talking will go to prevent the recurrence of attacks and save precious lives. Unwarranted Islamaphobia and denigration of Islam as an “evil ideology” and unjustified military intervention in Muslim majority countries go to create the division of the West and Muslims as “us-and-them” blocs. In accepting Muslims as part of the common humanity and as no less normal than the followers of other religions, the West can further the cause of global peace and make the world a safer and better place to live in.
G David Milton