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The UK authorities have indicated that the incident at Finsbury Park on Sunday evening was a terrorist attack. While it is too early to be definitive, all the signs point to a terrorist motivated by far-right hatred. The attack appears to be the latest in a string of terrorist acts targeting the Muslim community, not only in the UK but worldwide. From Portland and Sterling in the United States, to Quebec in Canada, incidents of far-right terrorism have risen in the past year.
While the immediate priority should be to ensure mosques across the UK have the security and reassurance they need, there will need to be a longer-term analysis of the drivers of far-right extremism to explain the recent rise. In addition, the government must ensure the police, security services, and other public bodies, have the right tools, such as Prevent, to tackle it.
Commenting on the incident, the Henry Jackson Society’s Executive Director, Dr. Alan Mendoza, said:
“Coming a year after the murder of Jo Cox, we have witnessed what appears to be another hateful act in the community. It is looking increasingly likely that this is the latest example of a growing threat of far-right extremism in the UK. The government must ensure urgently the security services have all the resources they need to investigate and prevent extremism-inspired attacks of whatever origin. Our thoughts today are with the friends and family of all those affected by this despicable act.”