The EDL and Islamic extremists are two different problems – but the solution is the same

One is the utter criminality cloaked in the guise of politics or religion by a few deranged individuals on the periphery of the Muslim community who are putting the whole community on the dock. The second is the violent response from far right activists combined with a divisive narrative from some columnists that poisons ordinary people’s mind against the Muslim community. Both are dangerous and they feed on each other. The author argues that in order to defeat this twin menace we need to be careful of our words and language; they matter, especially if they come from senior public figures. The root cause that separates people in any society is ignorance leading to fear of unknown. The local communities across the country generally get on well with one another, due to the fact that there is less ignorance of each other’s lives and more public interaction in their daily life. They are served by the local police, religious or community centres and other civic organisations. But, nationally and regionally, we very much need to find creative ways to bring our diverse people together. Pragmatic political decisions by our politicians, more constructive input from our media and judicious commentary from powerful individuals are what we need today to spread the message of realistic hope and allay the fear of the other; we all have a duty to dispel myths surrounding other communities. This needs a clear strategy and inclusive approach by people in authority – political and civil, Muslims and non-Muslims, religious and non-religious.