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08th Jun 2018

ISIS attacked Manchester Arena because they were “threatened” by music and culture

"That moment of community and communality… some people are threatened by that."

Rich Cooper

On 22 May 2017, terrorists tried to break Manchester’s spirit. They failed.

Less than two weeks after the Manchester Arena attack, Ariana Grande, the 24-year-old pop star whose concert was targeted that night, organised the One Love Manchester benefit concert, in part to raise money for the victims, but completely as an act of defiance and a show of resilience. Don’t Look Back in Anger took on a new life as a unifying force and a healing balm.

Music is the beating heart of Manchester, and was one of the reasons why the arena was targeted that night, says writer, broadcaster and Haçienda DJ Dave Haslam.

Speaking on JOE’s Unfiltered with James O’Brien podcast, Haslam said, “I talk about ISIS targeting a live music venue in Manchester, and I’m thinking, ‘Why is that?’

“‘What is it about my culture, our culture, that music culture, that culture of freedom… what is it about that culture that so upsets them [that] they need to destroy it?’

“That’s when I realised that all the entertainments and events of the 40 years that I’m talking about actually add up to creating that reservoir of hope and solidarity that the people of Manchester drew upon.

“I realised that my experience and the experience of thousands and thousands of other people, not just in Manchester but elsewhere, of being in a club… or being on a dance floor and connecting with someone across the dance floor, a complete stranger, and just feeling that moment of community and communality… some people are threatened by that.

“Why are they threatened by that? Because we are recognising our common characteristics and our similarities and our connectedness. People in our society, the ones who want to destroy it, they don’t get that. They don’t like that. They feel threatened by that.”

Dave Haslam appears on the next episode of Unfiltered with James O’Brien. Subscribe for free now to get the episode when it drops on Monday.