Some of my happiest teenage memories involve the freedom and independence I found attending gigs and sporting events in Britain’s second city. In one of those very same arenas on Monday night, at a teenage pop-concert, innocent children were forced to confront the murderous death and suffering that has become a familiar fixture on the streets of Europe.
Are we really going to sit here and simply say that this is our new, unfortunate reality?
There is, of course, no silver bullet that will win the war. Nonetheless, as admirable and well-meaning as they are, twitter hashtags expressing solidarity and compassion and defiant cries that ‘they will never beat us’ are no longer enough.
They are beating us; our citizens are dying on our streets.
Here’s what we should do without delay.
Arm our police
While it will undoubtedly be a sad day for our nation, we cannot let nativity or sentimentality cost innocent lives. Lone-wolf terror is now a daily threat and all our police heroes, not just a select militarised few, must be trained and ready to respond. Plans should be drawn up in the Home Office tomorrow.
Guard our borders
Uncontrolled mass-immigration cannot continue. Those outside our nation who wish to do us harm would first like to get in. It is essential that we know exactly who is coming into our country. An Australian style, points-based system would ensure that only those bringing skills that we require, who speak English with a fluency that allows for immediate integration and whose Interpol check returns spotless, are given the privilege of British residency.
End liberal interventionism
We must get it into our heads that we are not the world’s policemen. The Iraq war was among the most consequentially disastrous mistakes in the history of politics. We simply cannot intervene militarily in every nation in which there is an unsavoury government. Doing so has destabilised an entire region, radicalised tens of thousands and won us no gratitude or thanks in the process.
Acknowledge that theological Islam is not the problem
While many will disagree, theological Islam is not the root cause of Islamist Terror. Quite the contrary, evidence shows us that recent Islamist attacks in Europe have been carried out by individuals who are not remotely religious in their practice or lifestyle. Terrorists are more often drug-abusing, adulterous thugs than pious religious puritans. Consider the Nice killer, a man whose life revolved around booze, drugs and casual sex and who never attended Mosque. Likewise, the Berlin truck driver was a cocaine addicted, petty-thief.
There will always be a tiny proportion of extremists who look to Islam to justify their agenda. The Quran does not encourage violence or physical jihad. Rather, Jihad is the inward spiritual struggle one must wage daily against sinfulness. If only Islamists terrorists spent more time studying their faith and less time in pursuit of egotistical infamy.
Encourage Islamic Communities to do more
Nevertheless, Great Britain’s Islamic communities and their leaders must do more. They must drive home the peaceful meaning of their faith and crush those who seek to distort it. They must do so every single day. It is essential that respected community leaders and religious teachers address terrorism through open and honest introspection and discussion. The Quranic teaching that terror and violence will result in judgement and eternal suffering should ring out in mosques and Islamic schools.
Raise standards and build identity
It is hopelessness, humiliation and anger that lead young men to mass-murder, not a newly discovered verse in the Quran. Providing meaningful employment and reducing poverty in Islamic communities, as well as across all our nation, must be an immediate priority. Young men crave identity and belonging and without involvement in community institutions such as sports teams, they are vulnerable to extremist vultures. What’s more, vocal and inclusive patriotism is crucial. The Union flag should fly in all our communities and talk of wishy-washy, liberal ‘British values’ should be replaced with unashamed celebration in our history, in our flag and in our monarchy.
Cling to our liberty
The foremost aim of terrorism is attention. Terrorists not only want us to hate them, they need our fear of them to consume us. We cannot let them define us. A truly free society values and protects the civil liberties of all its citizens, irrespective of reactionary impulse. There will be those who seek to use atrocities to further state power and the surveillance state. If we are ever to conclusively defeat radical Islamic terror, we must provide a clear and compelling alternative. The second we compromise our freedom and our liberty is the second we are defeated.
But before we do anything, we should remember and pray for those innocent Brits who won’t be coming home from their concert and for their families who now have an empty bed.
Then, we must act.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.