31 / 05 / 13
Stephen Shashoua, Director, 3FF
The murder of Lee Rigby and its aftermath has been keenly felt by all communities in Britain. This shocking event has brought into full view the problems we have in our society in terms of extremism and issues relating to integration. We have also seen some heart-warming and positive reactions – ranging from the bravery and calmness exhibited by Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, the dubbed Angel of Woolwich, the clear condemnation and campaigning by faith and interfaith leaders and activists, and the actions of local people and communities like the York mosque invitation to tea.
The problem of extremism is society’s problem; it is not an issue that one community should be expected to address. While counter-terrorism and preventing extremism is essential, we must put much more focus on cementing good relations between communities and individuals, as opposed to only one-off efforts when tragedies such as these occur.
Whilst we may be disturbed, confused and upset about recent events, we have the responsibility to create positive opportunities for dialogue. We must collectively band together against the hatemongers who constantly seek to divide us through violence and fear. There is no other way.
We know that many of us feel powerless and uncertain about what useful steps we can take to show solidarity and stand together. St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace has some great resources on how to build interfaith relations which can give you some ideas. Now more than ever is the time to reach out to our neighbours.
Resource for teachers
At 3FF, we know that young people will be asking many difficult questions in schools, and looking to teachers for support and a space to talk. We have developed tips and guidelines for use in schools, which are available on our website.