London: is terror dividing society?
Innocent civilians in London have once more fallen victim to an attack, this time against Muslims. A man drove a delivery van into a group of people shortly after midnight on Monday. Eleven people were injured and one died. Police are investigating whether or not the dead man's death was related to the attack. Europe's press discusses whether the attack is a result of growing division in society - and what lessons can be learned.
Britain is vulnerable
The Süddeutsche Zeitung is not particularly surprised by this latest attack:
“The British may be remarkably tolerant and polite, but the series of terrorist attacks by Islamists has also triggered a predictable reaction there. In the days after the London Bridge attack the number of anti-Muslim incidents quadrupled, so it was to be expected that at some point there would be deaths and people injured. The UK is in danger of seeing this vicious circle of violence and counter-violence accelerate, and this was underlined not least by the politicians' race to get to the sites of the attacks. Terror works when it hits a clearly unstable system.”
No double standards, please!
The state must hold accountable those who fan Islamophobia, The Independent demands:
“Today we saw people exercising the very British right of religious freedom come under attack. It's about time the Government did more to tackle the dangers posed by those who whip up Islamophobic sentiment that lead to attacks like these. For too long we have allowed a double standard to occur in which this type of extremism is seen as the less dangerous counterpart to Islamic extremism, even though both are driven by the same motivations and desires, a worldview that hates diversity and believes in asserting its own supremacy. Following Islamist terrorist attacks, hate preachers and their ideology are interrogated, and today it can be no different.”
Terror must be fought ideologically
Kristeligt Dagblad voices concern about whether Christians and Muslims can continue to coexits peacefully in Western societies:
“For the most part Europeans have refrained from venting their anger on Muslims. There have been cases of Muslims and Hindus having their head coverings torn off, but their lives weren't under threat. Nevertheless this kind of vigilante justice could turn a series of sporadic terror attacks into a violent conflict between two groups. This sickness must not be allowed to spread. We must focus on the ideological motives behind Islamist terror attacks. It has become a bad habit to downplay terrorist attacks using sociological explanations. But terrorism can only be fought if ideology and theology are taken into consideration.”
Hürriyet voices concern that there are good reasons for the surge in anti-Islam sentiment in the West:
“We should not forget that England has even given Muslims the right to found 'sharia family courts'. ... Independently of our beliefs and philosophy of life, we should admit that terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and the IS foment islamophobia. What's more, the dire conditions in Muslim societies fuel Islamophobia in the West. The growing Islamophobic prejudices are leading to an 'othering' of Muslims in the West and to a rise in the number of reports and behaviours that are offensive to Muslims. And ultimately also to attacks against Muslims.”