The brutal murder of 3 people in the vicinity of the Jewish Museum in Brussels should be a wake up call for those campaigners who work against hate, intolerance and bigotry. So many organisations consistently talk about tackling hate and intolerance, yet they are not effective, nor are they able to keep up with the pace of developments that are taking place in Europe. They are simply voices that are becoming irrelevant when social media, web-sites and other electronic formats pour our hate material, on virtually a daily basis.
A resurgent Far Right, targeted attacks against Jews and Muslims in Europe and the continued terrorist targeting of synagogues and mosques, (such as that which took place in June 2013 in the West Midlands), mean that there are real threats by organised small cells and groups who are difficult to find, but more than likely, provided with emotional and psychological support by others. For example, it is clear to us in TELL MAMA that those susceptible to Far Right anti-Muslim rhetoric usually source out on-line material that re-enforces their hate narratives. It is these hate information sources, that are also partly to blame in giving mental and emotional succour to vulnerable people and in normalising opinions that are far from social norms.
Yet, we cannot also get away from another simple fact. Whoever is behind this attack, we within TELL MAMA acknowledge that there are some small sections in Muslim communities in France who have been involved in the promotion of anti-Semitism and in the targeting of Jewish communities. We cannot also forget those radicalised overseas and who returned to murder Jews in Toulouse. Such killings attempt to drive a wedge between Jewish and Muslim communities and it is essential that Muslim communities re-double their efforts to work against anti-Semitism wherever they find it. For in doing so, this not only strengthens the fight against bigotry and hate, it also sensitises people to what others feel and go through. It is also important since it builds a deeper inner strength to counter all forms of bigotry.
Today is another wake up call. How many do we need to stand up and work with our friends, partners and governments in Europe so that those who seek to marginalise, target or murder people are tackled with a Herculean effort. Only can such focussed work push back and identify those who seek to harm innocent men and women on the streets of European capitals. We stand in solidarity with our European Jewish brothers and sisters.