The article that has changed my point of view … of how to tackle extremism

Marc Evans, 28, is a nurse from Bristol.

Shortly after the Manchester terrorist attack, I read an article titled: “We don’t tackle extremism by stigmatising citizens Muslims” by Tariq Ramadan. Was not timely, calm, and articulate, and really resonated with me, because it is crystallized beliefs that I have long held, and expressed a sentiment that should be much more widely propagated.

We seem to have a deep culture of blame and, unfortunately, the hatred of the people of different races and cultures is still very popular in Britain. The last months have been particularly difficult; the sense of “us against them” has rarely been more strongly felt in Britain.

Marc Evans

In his article, Ramadan says: “we need to put people together, and I want to say to all the people, those with or without faith in a united front against all senseless acts of violence against civilians, here or abroad. To portray these criminal acts as part of an ideological battle between the extremist, anti-western, and Muslim and western values risks further alienating Muslim citizens, and ignores the fact that Muslims themselves also fall victim to these attacks.”

As a nurse, it is essential that I treat all people as equals, and not judge. I was really shocked by the hatred that the recent events have brought out in people. It is the fastest way to knee-jerk reactions that scare me the most. People are so quick to point the finger, to make sweeping statements and draw battle lines.

In response to this, I think that the British government could do more, they seem not to have done enough to reinforce the difference between Islam and extremism. I can only imagine how it must feel to be a Muslim in America at this time, when the government is publicly to stigmatize the Muslim community and continues to attempt to ban Muslims from entering the country. It is beyond comprehension.

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As citizens, we look to our leaders for support and guidance in times of crisis and, when it is missing, deep cracks begin to form in society, contributing to what Ramadan calls the “politics of division”.

It is not difficult to see how stigmatising a religion can cultivate the sense of isolation that can lead to anger, and violent acts. Establish a clear distinction between the majority of peaceful Muslims and the small minority of those who call themselves Muslims and commit extremist acts is the first step in combating this growing stigma.

As discussed in the month of Ramadan of the article, the creation of unity in our nation, there is a need to make changes to our domestic and foreign policy, a careful reflection on how we can improve education, collaborative efforts between citizens and government, and more courage where it is needed. But, before this, and alongside it, the efforts to stem the divisions between citizens are of vital importance.