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No place in society for any type of extremism

Islam is a great and ancient religion; Islamism is a poisonous ideology, whose aim is the total destruction of non-adherents.

Islam, like any other religion, should provide people with spiritual nourishment, comfort and meaning in life; Islamism promises heaven to those who put innocents through hell.

Strongly emphasising the need to prevent the latter should provide no threat, or insult, to peaceful, devout followers of the former.

What type of society should we be? Free and tolerant? Absolutely. But so foolishly tolerant as to allow what is, centrally, a totalitarian doctrine to take root? Absolutely not. Any extremist position, for example, on how to react to people who don’t think like you, should be challenged in the most robust of terms.

The reaction of the police, medics, parents and ordinary members of the public — no doubt of all faiths and none — to last Monday night’s horror reminds us there are more partners in this world than terrorists. And it is only through partnership that this violent strain of Islam can be defeated, as well as any other plainly dangerous species of thought.

DANIEL WATSON

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Belfast Telegraph

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