Search icon


14th Nov 2015

Paris terror attacks: We can’t let empathy become a victim of hatred

"The best defence is to p*ss them off with humanity, tolerance and empathy"

Nooruddean Choudry

When terrorists attack the innocent, what are they hoping to achieve?

It is perhaps a question worth considering in these difficult times. There is of course a sadistic, psychotic, hateful thirst for carnage and murder. Religious verses twisted out of context to justify their cruel and zealous blood-thirst. But it is also a message of otherness.

You are different from us; we are different from you. Difference is bad, and difference will not be tolerated. That is what they hope to drive home whilst ending the lives of the innocent and sending ripples of confusion and anger around the world.

People leave flowers for terrorist attacks victims in Paris : News Photo

It is a baton of hate that opportunistic fascists grab with relish. Right-wing organisations echo the sentiment with obscene haste. Even whilst news emerges of the true human cost of such tragedy, they reiterate the need for collective blame and retribution.

Extremists on both sides have a symbiotic relationship. They pretend to be deadly rivals, but really they are welcome allies. It suits both agendas to force people to take sides. They don’t want context, they detest ambiguity. They want good versus evil, and death to the other side.

The intention is to drive a big f*cking wedge between ‘them’ and ‘us’ – even if the inconvenient truth for the bigots is that many are peacefully both. Each extremist ‘side’ wants to stress that there is a clean dividing line between Muslims and non-Muslims, and that they must be mortal enemies.


But here’s the thing – every Muslim living amongst you, going to football games, attending gigs and happily socialising with you and yours is seen as a justified target. They are traitors in the eyes of the terrorist, and the enemy within to right-wing fascists.

The truth is that religion is not a reason, it is an excuse. Just like being British, English or caucasian isn’t a reason but an excuse for EDL/BNP/National Front to peddle hate. But it suits all extreme agendas to paint it that way.

The nightmare scenario for neanderthal racists and barbarous fanatics is Muslims and non-Muslims happily mingling and living together. They do not want you standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity, or wearing the same football colours, or buying tickets for the same Stone Roses gig.

Significant Death Toll Feared In Paris Terror Attacks : News Photo

La Carillon cafe and restaurant was witness to cold-blooded murder on Friday night. Its owner is an elderly Algerian Muslim. His world came crumbling down as his guests were executed around him. His son tried in vain to administer CPR and resuscitate the dying.

But this small fact is inconvenient. It doesn’t fit with the simplistic fuelling of hate and vengeance. There is no room for tolerance and empathy in the extremists’ playbook, only division, retribution and the escalation of hatred. If we all got on, then their very existence would be redundant.

What the terrorists and the bigots are hoping to achieve is fear and loathing. The best defence is to p*ss them off with humanity, tolerance and empathy. It sounds trite, but it’s true.

Memorial Held In Hong Kong For Victims Of Paris Terror Attacks : News Photo