SINCE 9/11 we have seen terrorism as a “Muslim thing”. The London 7/7 attacks reinforced that, as did the creation of IS.
We have become used to seeing terrorists as sharing a faith and having a certain skin colour.
The attack in New Zealand should finally show us that terrorism doesn’t have a creed, a race or any one ideology[/caption]
Because it’s hatred that binds these attacks together.
People so driven by it that they will fly a plane with kids on board into a skyscraper, or shoot old people in the head at point blank range.
It’s impossible to relate to such people. They have become sub-human. But they didn’t start that way.
Since my wife Jo was murdered by a white supremacist almost three years ago, I’ve spent time trying to understand what drives these people.
I’ve spoken to victims, psychologists and reformed extremists. And what’s amazing is how much the different types of extremists have in common.
They all start with a belief that their group is superior.
Then they find reasons to hate the other group, before going on to dehumanise them.
DENY NOTORIETY TO THE TERRORIST
Finally, some go on to kill members of the other group to gain respect from fellow extremists and win wider notoriety.
These attacks leave us feeling sick and powerless. But, in fact, we can all be part of defeating terrorism.
Survivors against Terror — a network of survivors of attacks in the UK — advises people who want to help to first deny notoriety to the terrorist.
Don’t share their name or their videos. Remember the victims and try to forget the attacker.
Secondly, social media and mainstream news must stop giving platforms to terrorists and those who inspire them.
And thirdly, tackle hatred in your own life.
No terrorist starts by planning a shooting, they start by ranting against certain groups before going on to share material designed to spread hatred.
We all know people like that and might even turn a blind eye rather than spark an argument.
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But that gives them the sense of approval they need to attack.
Tackle the hatred and we might never get to the violence.
So of course we cannot stop every attack, but if we work together, tackle hatred in all its forms, we might at least make these attacks less likely.
These attacks leave us feeling sick and powerless but we can all be part of defeating terrorism[/caption]