Solidarity Meeting

United we stand. Divided we fall.

Posted on: 28th March 2019

I joined hundreds who crammed into the Cornwall Islamic Community Centre last weekend. A moving event. We came together in solidarity to show we are one. United in one community. A reaction to the appalling massacre of worshipers by a right-wing terrorist at two mosques in Christchurch the week before.

I was asked to speak on behalf of the Cornish community. I hope I did this justice. It had been my privilege to be involved in helping Cornish Muslims nearly a quarter of a century ago to commence the work which resulted in this centre; which has become a focus for one of Cornwall’s essential communities. Methodists, Anglicans, the Cornish Jewish Community, Catholics, agnostics and others all came together then to support our Muslim brothers and sisters, just as they did last Sunday.

True Cornish people are open and kind hearted. We are putting our arms around our Islamic friends at this difficult time. United we stand together in peace and harmony. Divided …I can barely think what the future would hold.

The majority of people want to support the victims of this appalling terrorist act – to hear their voices. But, as ever, the media has also been promoting the profile of the terrorist. I exonerate this newspaper of course, but the media is perhaps the best recruiting sergeant for sick and radicalised people who seek notoriety for their extremist cause. The regular diet of screaming front page headlines of twisted reporting against migrants, refugees, muslims and minorities who can’t speak up for themselves has an impact. It essentially fuels the bigotry which encourages extremists to resort to terrorist acts.

I hope the media doesn’t permit bigoted commentators to hide their identity behind anonymity.