The terror attack in London this week is a horrifying reminder of the mindless violence and murder that can be committed by radicalised people right here in the UK.
The savage attack shocked us all. Men, women and children became innocent victims of a man intent on causing maximum suffering to as many as possible.
Details of the attacker and his background are still being investigated. He has been named as 52-year-old Khalid Masood. But it is thought he was a radicalised man whose motive for committing this atrocity was a warped ideology perpetrating by terror groups such as Daesh.
How he had succumbed to the brainwashing of extremists to carry out such a brutal attack will no doubt be discovered and publicised over the coming days.
But the scenes in London of the indiscriminate targeting of people from many faiths, religions and ethnicities, differing ages and genders points to a man whose mind had been warped by extremists.
What we’re reminded of in the aftermath of this tragic attack is that extremism is alive in our own country and furthermore, within our communities.
Our loved ones, our children, our friends – we are all at risk of being targeted by militants preying on our vulnerabilities in order to twist our sense of reality and encourage us to commit murder.
As mothers, sisters and grandmothers, women have a unique position in our communities. We have the credibility and authenticity to speak up within our communities and make a difference. We often possess ‘women’s instinct’ and are the first to recognise changes in behaviour within our families and wider community.
As women, we are often well positioned to be on the front line against ‘home-grown’ terrorism. The threat is real and it’s possible it’s right within our homes and communities.
Therefore, we must feel able and empowered to be a strong and visible part of keeping our communities safe. At Strive, we run a series of workshops which cover a whole host of topics, including the threats posed by extremism.
These workshops advise on how to spot the signs of radicalisation, deliver insights into the theology of Islam, give an overview of the British Muslim community and highlight the specific challenges Muslim women face in society. We examine the ways in which violence in the home can link with extremist ideology and how parenting issues can leave a child vulnerable to radicalisation.
United, educated and empowered, we can prevent extremists radicalising our children. We must protect the most vulnerable individuals within our community.
As we have witnessed this week in London, the result of radicalisation can be horrific and tragic.