We watched in horror as the events unfolded on Saturday night on London Bridge and in Borough Market. It was a brutal attack on innocent civilians enjoying a night out in the capital, and the third terror attack in England in as many months.
Our thoughts are with all those affected and our hearts go out to the families of those killed or injured.
Daesh has called for such attacks, encouraging its supporters in the West to use vehicles and weapons fashioned from everyday kitchen items like knives. Where they were using social media to groom and lure people into travelling to fight with them in Syria and Iraq, they are now calling for attacks in their home countries. Our country.
As Iraqi forces continue to diminish Daesh’s power, influence, and very ‘caliphate’ in the region, the terror group is changing tactics. And it seems that this new direction is having the desired effect; Daesh are reaching and radicalising young people, brainwashing them into committing the horrific atrocities we have seen in London and Manchester.
Our intelligence and security services have warned that more attacks are likely; this is not intended to make us panic, but to encourage vigilance. Right now, some young people across the country are either being preyed upon by Daesh militants, or are already planning attacks based on direction from terrorists hellbent on the murder of innocent civilians.
Children are scared. Adults are frightened. Families have lost loved ones to indiscriminate bombings and attacks using vehicles and knives. We cannot allow this to continue.
United, we are stronger. As we’ve seen in the aftermath of the attacks in Manchester and London, our communities are united against terror. But we also need to pull together to call out extremist behaviour as soon as we see it or suspect it; communities are a crucial element in the fight against Daesh.
As parents, it is important that we speak with our children about the terror incidents we’ve seen rather than let it go unspoken about in our homes. Open dialogue and honest conversations build trust, and trust enables us to have the difficult conversations that we need to have in order to keep our communities – and our country – safe.
It is our duty as parents to safeguard our children from being groomed into doing harm to themselves and others. It is our responsibility to protect our families and the wider community from a twisted ideology that aims to kill innocent people.
If you are concerned about a loved one, or someone in your community, there are people out there who you can talk to, including friends or family; a trusted community or faith leader; your child’s school, college or university – most will have welfare officers or child safeguarding leads who are trained to help; your local designated safeguarding officer; the police; or your local health and mental health services.
At FAST, we offer one-to-one confidential advice if you are concerned. Contact us for help and advice. You can also contact the counter-terrorism hotline on 0800 789 321 (always call 999 in an emergency and you can report suspected terrorist activity to the police online. These services are secure and confidential and you can remain anonymous.
Together, we can prevent more young people being radicalised. By learning how to spot the signs and what to do if we’re concerned, and reporting extremist behaviour, we can stop these brutal attacks.
We must work together to stop this mindless and brutal terror.