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Only by standing united can we beat extremism; REAL BRITAIN; Ros Wynne-Jones standing up for you and your family.

Byline: Ros Wynne-Jones

AS time moves forward from the Manchester terror attack on Monday night, the words of broken-hearted mum of murdered Olivia Campbell ring in our ears.

"Please stay together," Charlotte sobbed.

In the days ahead, tolerant, decent Britain may find itself screaming to be heard between two jack-booted ideologies. On the one hand, the extremism behind an attack on a pop concert that left 22 people dead and 59 injured. On the other, western far-right racist extremists waiting vulture-like in the wings.

As the weekend approaches, both pull in two different directions. Can we do what Charlotte Campbell begged us?

The city of Manchester made its mind up quickly on the day of the attacks, as streams of people poured into the sunny square around the cathedral. Manchester knew the city's real Muslims were the ones who drove the ambulances, ferried terrified children home in their taxis, and were among the doctors and nurses who had spent all night picking twisted metal out of children.

There excuse don't someone because your But the hate-mongers know to target the pockets of the country that lack Mancunian selfconfidence.

Into the political vacuum left by the bombing, yesterday stepped UKIP's Paul Nuttall, who likes to question why the Muslim community doesn't do more to prevent attacks. Sara Khan, who founded the counter-extremist organisation Inspire, has previously tackled his views head on.

"I wasn't going to have him lecture me, saying Muslims aren't doing enough," Khan, 37, says. "I counter extremism every single day and I pay for that in abuse and threats by Islamists. I've done more than his party will ever do."

Likewise, Sajda Mughal, a Muslim survivor of the 7/7 bombings who now runs the JAN Trust, says she and her staff fight every day to combat extremism. "Unfortunately our government funding for our Web Guardians project, which helps mothers keep their children safe from extremism, has just been ended," she says. "We are a grassroots Muslim organisation fighting extremism, and we desperately need funds. The Government is no you has just told us 'no'."

Mughal was 22 when she boarded the same Piccadilly line train as Germaine Lindsay on July 7, 2005. Ending up in a different carriage to the one she usually took saved her life

"I was in Austria at an antiextremism conference when the Manchester bomb happened," she says, not missing the bitter irony. "I immediately started getting flashbacks to the bang, the blood, the bodies."

When Sara Khan awoke to the news of Monday's attack by Salman Abedi on Tuesday morning, it was with a sense of inevitability. "We know this problem's happening because we deal with it every day," she says.

"It might be a mother coming in saying, 'My 12-year-old son wants to fight for ISIS'. Or a school telling us that a father is making his five-year-old watch beheading videos."

She describes a child "lovebombed" online, who told her she dreamed of going to the ISIS caliphate because it would be like an "Islamic Disneyland".

Khan, and other groups like Hope Not Hate, see Islamistinspired and far-right extremism as two sides of the same coin.

"Islamist extremism sits on the far-right spectrum ," Khan says. "It's the mirror image of traditional far-right beliefs.

"You might be a boy being bullied at school, spending more and more time online, a boy with vulnerabilities being exploited by the far right, sharing more anti-semitic and anti-Muslim views.

"You might be a girl whose father remarried after her mother died, increasingly isolated, spending more time on her own on social media where she finds all these friends who are really online groomers for ISIS. I've come across both such cases." But she says there are no excuses for any terrorist atrocity, including the killing of MP Jo Cox by far-right terrorist Thomas Mair.

"There was no excuse for Mair and there is no excuse for Salman Abedi," she says. "You don't kill someone because of your beliefs."

After 7/7, Londoner Mughal gave up her job in the City to work for a Muslim NGO. Khan, a Bradford-born former pharmacist with an MA in human rights, set up her charity soon after July 7.

The two women have different views - Khan supports the Government's controversial Prevent programme - but both ask the same question: How many more people have to die before more is done?


"You don't wake up one morning and say I'm going to kill dozens of people today," Khan says. "There is no doubt people like Abedi have held such views and never had those views sufficiently challenged.

"Social media from Daesh is extremely sophisticated. Al Qaeda produces so many magazines, videos. Kids have smartphones - they are getting radicalised in their own bedrooms. We have to do more to prevent it.

"But there is also a dangerous rise in identity politics. There is a rise in Islamist extremism, farright extremism, Sikh extremism and hard-left extremism. We need to challenge all extremism.

"Between the people who want no Muslims and the people who won't challenge extremism, we need to defend our shared values, our common humanity."

Four days on from Manchester and just a few days short of the first anniversary of the death of Jo Cox, the critical question is how we address extremism yet hold the country together. Twelve years after the 7/7 bombing that changed her life, Sajda Mughal unconsciously echoes Charlotte Campbell: "We have to stand together," she says.

There is no excuse you don't kill someone because of your beliefs


SURVIVOR Sajda was in 7/7 bombing

ABUSED Sara Khan

DISTRAUGHT Charlotte after the death of daughter Olivia, inset
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 26, 2017
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