UK terror attack survivors criticise conflation of Muslims with extremism ahead of Christchurch anniversary

UK terror attack survivors criticise conflation of Muslims with extremism ahead of Christchurch anniversary
Survivors of terrorist attacks have criticised a growing trend among politicians to associate Muslims with extremism.
2 min read
10 March, 2024
The signatories included relatives of the victims of the Manchester Arena bombings [Getty]

Over 50 survivors of terrorist attacks which took place in the UK, including those at the Manchester Arena and London Bridge, have signed an open letter calling on British politicians to stop associating British Muslims with extremism.

The letter was published ahead of the fifth anniversary of the deadly Christchurch attacks in New Zealand, where 51 people were killed by a far-right extremist.

The terrorist attack survivors said that they were “only too aware” of the threat of Islamist extremism, and said that “fighting and defeating it should be a national priority”.

They also said that “the single most important thing we can do is to isolate the extremists and the terrorists from the vast majority of British Muslims who deplore such violence.”

However, they added that “there have been too many cases where politicians and others have failed to do this”.

The letter follows comments by Conservative party deputy chairman Lee Anderson, who was suspended after saying that London mayor Sadiq Khan was “controlled by Islamists”.


Right-wing former Home Secretary Suella Braverman has also said that “the Islamists, the extremists and the anti-Semites are in charge now,” in response to frequent pro-Palestine protests in London ever since Israel’s indiscriminate war on Gaza began.

The protests for Gaza have been largely peaceful and are attended by people of many faiths and ethnicities, but those taking part have been smeared as “Islamist hate mobs” by the UK’s right-wing media.

The terror victims’ letter criticised politicians for “equating being Muslim with being an extremist, facilitating anti-Muslim hate or failing to challenge it”.

Among the signatories was Rebecca Rigby, whose husband Lee was murdered by Islamist extremists in May 2013.

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“Lee’s death was used by some to drive hatred against Muslims in general. That’s not what Lee would have wanted and it’s not what our family wants,” she said.

Paul Price, who suffered serious injuries in the 2017 Manchester Arena terrorist attack said, “Terrorists want people to take sides and for people to get angry. It should be everyone against the terrorists.”

The letter also comes as government ministers try to promote a new definition of Islamist extremism, with fears that mainstream Muslim organisations could be tarred with the “extremist” brush.

There have been reports that the Muslim Council of Britain could be designated as an extremist group.