JUST Yorkshire condemns the terrorist attack at the Manchester arena and we send our deepest condolences to the families who lost loved ones and have sustained injuries. The attack which the police believe is a terrorist incident was cowardly in its intent as it deliberately targeted innocent young people. The courage, compassion and unconditional support demonstrated by Mancunians is a testimony to how communities can rally together in times of adversity rather than give terrorists victory by allowing ourselves to be divided.
Manchester’s response to the cowardly terrorist attack offers a good practice template that other cities can learn from – the manner in which ordinary Mancunians acted out of compassion to the plight of victims caught up in the attack by offering practical support and help; a demonstration of community solidarity that crossed religious and racial differences; the leadership shown by the city’s faith and civic leaders in promoting messages of unity; the refusal to let the Far Right capitalise on the terrorist attack to divide communities. JUST believes that Manchester’s constructive and thoughtful response to the terrorist attack ought to be promoted as a model of good practice as it offers critical lessons on how to defuse community tensions in moments of crisis.
The terrorist attack has been widely condemned by both faith and secular organisations and Muslim communities have been unequivocal in their condemnation of the incident. We note that following the Brexit vote, West Yorkshire experienced one of the largest spikes in hate crimes across the country. We therefore call on police forces across Yorkshire to send the clearest message that reprisal attacks against Muslims will not be tolerated and the police will take firm action, particularly as there is already evidence that mosques across the country are being targeted. We urge the police to widely publicise hate crime reporting centres across Yorkshire and ensure that communities are being encouraged to report incidents of harassment, threats and acts of violence.
Similarly, the bold response by Mancunians challenging attempts by the EDL to whip up racism and xenophobia in the immediate aftermath of the attack is a testimony to how communities can challenge attempts by extremists and terrorists to divide communities.
JUST calls on Yorkshire’s MPs and councillors to show leadership and send the clearest cross-party messages that communities remain united. We urge prospective parliamentary candidates not to use the terrorist attack for electioneering gains and instead call for calm and community unity.