It is with great sadness we have seen another tragedy take place in Europe, with two people killed and many injured in shootings in Copenhagen. After attacking a café where a free speech debate was being held, the gunman then attacked a synagogue – similar to the attacks in Paris.
Over the past week, we have heard reports of religiously motivated violence across the world almost every day.
21 Coptic Christians were brutally murdered at the hands of Isis in Libya just days ago. 19 worshippers were killed and dozens injured when a Shia mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, was attacked by the Taliban. Days before the Copenhagen attacks three young Muslims were gunned down in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Later that week, an Islamic centre in Houston was set on fire.
These tragedies should serve as another reminder that people of all faiths, beliefs and cultures must stand together against hatred and extremism.
We must resist any attempts to turn this into a question of a clash of cultures. The real conflict is not between different religions, or between liberal values and religious sensibilities. The conflict is between decent people and the extremists.
But perhaps most importantly, we must now make every effort to support our neighbours. We must make sure everyone not only is safe but feels safe after terrible events like these. Security and vigilance can help prevent the all too real threats to our communities, but equally as important is the “human security” which comes from knowing and building trust with our neighbours.
After the recent shooting in Chapel Hill, the local community – people of all faiths and beliefs – got together to pay tribute to the victims and show that they stood united against the violence. And so we must continue to do when violence erupts around the world. We must actively support our neighbours against all forms of hatred, and together be a force for unity in our communities.
We are inviting charities, community groups and other organisations across the UK to join us and sign a joint declaration against hate. Read the declaration and sign here.