IF THE terror attack in central London on Saturday night leads to a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, the terrorists will have won, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.
“Every time a Muslims is abused on a bus or a mosque is attacked, the terrorists have taken another step forward,” Archbishop Welby said on Monday morning.
“If we attack or persecute a particular group of people on the grounds of their faith alone, the terrorists will give three cheers and say: ‘Thank you, you have done our work for us.’”
Archbishop Welby gave his warning during an interview on BBC Radio 4. He also said, however, that it was impossible to deny the connection between Islam and the massacre on Saturday evening, where three men armed with knives killed seven and injured 48 more on London Bridge and in Borough Market.
Stating that Islamist-inspired terrorism had nothing to do with Islam made as little sense as suggesting the Srebrenica atrocity during the Balkan Wars had nothing to do with Christianity, Archbishop Welby said.
“Throughout history, religious tradition and scriptures have been twisted and misused by people. If something is happening within our own faith tradition, we have to take responsibility for being very, very clear in countering it.”
But it was striking how quickly every major Muslim leader and organisation had spoken out in horror at the attack, Archbishop Welby also said. And while it was natural to be concerned about relations between faith groups after a terror attack, everyone could see London’s “extraordinary cohesion”.
“There isn’t a fundamental problem with cohesion. The vast majority of Muslims and everyone else have a single view about what kind of country they want to live in.”
The three attackers, who have yet to be named by police, are thought to have been inspired by Islamic State, which has released a statement claiming that they were its fighters. Officers investigating the attack have arrested 12 people and are searching homes in East London.