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23 November 2015

West right to wage war, but Muslims are not the enemy

Gerry Adams

Forget the wishful thinking. The West is fighting for its life. It behoves every country in Europe to pool resources to defeat the common enemy. And that includes the Republic of Ireland.

Gerry Adams in a recent blog insisted there should be no weakening of neutrality and no Irish role "in the growing militarisation of Europe". Rubbish.

This is a war for survival and there is not the faintest justification for Ireland leaving it to others to do all the fighting.

In his blog, Gerry Adams says: "We know from our own troubled history that there are no purely military solutions. Diplomacy, negotiations and political resolution of conflict is key."

Well, yes, Mr Adams, up to a point.

Diplomacy, negotiations and politics certainly played their part in building an alliance within the British Isles against paramilitary violence, but until the Army and the RUC had defeated the IRA and they gave up on their impossible demands, there was nothing to negotiate about.

President Hollande is right that it must be a pitiless war, but we must protect the innocent.

The enemy is Isis. Not Muslims. Isis want the eradication of any form of human life that doesn't subscribe to the tenets of their death cult.

It would happily slaughter not just every non-Muslim in the world, but every one of the 200 million or so Shias, including the three or four hundred thousand in the United Kingdom.

And few Sunnis would escape either, for the vast majority of them are revolted by the horrifying violence being perpetrated in the name of Islam.

Muslims are scared that non-Muslims will treat them as the enemy within.

I was in London during the years of Provisional IRA shootings and bombings, and remember how grateful I was to Londoners, none of whom reacted in a hostile way to my Irish accent.

Still, like many Irish people, I made it clear where I could in private and in public that I rejected the violence and its perpetrators.

Similarly, Muslims should individually and collectively be seeking to demonstrate their loyalty to the European countries in which they live.

But non-Muslims should be reassuring them too, particularly the women in hijabs who bear the brunt of abuse and attacks from ignorant, vicious bigots.

After the horror of Paris, I made a point of looking out for them in my local London streets and supermarket so I could give them a smile, and was shocked to see how few were around. Many were scared of a backlash, and had stayed at home.

A few days later I learned that texts were circulating from Muslims warning that their women were in danger outside their homes and telling graphic tales of attacks and abuse - most of which were invented.

They were circulated by the gullible, but initiated by extremists who want to encourage a victim mentality among Muslims and discourage them from further integrating into British society.

But also circulating was a Facebook post from a young man called Ashley Powys who told how he had seen a girl in a hijab being abused on the tube.

The bully responsible was calling her a "terrorist" and "raghead" and saying that "her people" were the murderers of Paris.

Ashley pushed the thug away, chatted to the frightened young woman, got off the train with her, took her to her friends and told her "that there are many people like me and she should never have to feel afraid in her own country. And this?is?her country, and her city."

He told the story on Facebook and ended with "Please take care of each other. Both friends and strangers. You never know when you might need someone to do the same in return."

The response has been massive and hugely positive.

Ashley is right.

Paramilitaries exacerbated suspicion and hatred between Catholic and Protestant in Northern Ireland.

It is vital that we try to stop a fissure opening up between Christians and Muslims.

In the war in which we are engaged, we need all good people to stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defy the barbarians who would destroy us all.

Ruth Dudley Edwards

© Ruth Dudley Edwards