It’s one of the strongest emotions in the human experience, for the simple fact that it gives us the feeling of power in a situation that has rendered us powerless. Sitting in my living room 90 miles from Manchester, I can’t stop crying. I just saw a broadcast of a mother desperately appealing for the whereabouts of her teenage daughter, an appeal no human should ever have to make.
What happens next is equally as heartbreaking. Hate-filled manipulators bring out their own weapons of persuasion, convincing the helpless and heartbroken to see many people in the light of one person. It’s a trick that brings nothing but victory for the extremist and notoriety for the arsonist.
What the killer did was sick and twisted both mentally and ideologically. It was cowardly, debase and hell-drenched, but what it wasn’t, was Muslim. To believe that this faith believes in murder is to expose quite simply how little you know about this faith and its followers.
I am in no doubt that if it had been my beloved cut down, then God knows I would want blood. But I would want the blood of those who represent the killer, not those that the killer simply claimed to represent. There’s a big difference between these groups.
We want to hate to feel that we have an exit plan for when the darkness comes. As if this burning and easily-led emotion could somehow light up the room and lead us out. It can of course, never achieve such illumination.
We need to grieve. We need to think. We need to look at the problem and what we are currently calling a solution. Whether this is increasing police numbers, upping efforts around integration, mental health prioritisation, re-evaluating foreign policy – it has to be done without hatred anywhere near it. The moment we give into this cursed emotion, we hand the victory over to the sick and twisted.
These killers have denounced what it means to be human, therefore it is impossible for them to be seen with a legitimate religion. They are not religious, they are the indigenous of darker ages when humankind could not see beyond the spear in their webbed hands.