Darren Osbourne, the Finsbury Park attacker, is no better than the Islamists he despised

Yesterday, we woke to news that a white man van decided a mosque attack would be a reasonable response to the recent Westminster, Manchester and London Bridge attacks. The Archbishop Cranmer blog reports:

Ploughing into Muslims outside Finsbury Park Mosque as they finished their Tarawih prayers during Ramadan, the terrorist is reported to have screamed, “I want to kill all Muslims.” And he did manage to kill one in the name of unholy vengeance – an eye for an eye; measure for malevolent measure.

Some will refuse to acknowledge this is attack is of the same order as the aforementioned terrorist acts. After all, the perpetrator was a lone, white British guy who had no theological rationale and only managed to kill one person. But using a van for the expressed purpose of killing as many as possible and screaming ‘I want to kill all Muslims’ seems a similar modus operandi and theological rationale as that which we have seen from recent Islamist attacks. Be under no illusion, they may differ in scale and target, but Darren Osbourne is no better than the Islamist aggressors whose actions he emulated.

His Grace puts it well when he states:

The victims of the London mosque attack had just been reciting the Qur’an and performing their rakats, and then, out of nowhere, white van man ploughed into them – just because they were Muslims. To be killed for one’s faith is indeed to be martyred: to murder people for their faith is an attack on the fundamental freedom of religion.

It shouldn’t matter one jot whether we like the views of Muslim people or not. It shouldn’t matter one tittle whether we agree with the views of Muslims people. What matters is that in a free and liberal society – a society that permits us the right to believe whatever we will – Muslim people are rightly entitled to freely believe and practice their religion too. This means an attack upon Muslim people is an attack on the freedom of religion. This, in turn, represents an attack upon all of us. For from the freedom of religion all other freedoms flow. This was the historic battleground upon which all the other freedoms we enjoy were won. To attack Muslims, simply because they are Muslims, is an attack on our free society and undermines the very Western liberal values that Islamists similarly wish to destroy.

Whatever your view of Islam, it is clear to anyone with eyes to see that most of its subscribers have no desire to establish the caliphate in Britain and raise the black flag of ISIS over Downing Street. To think otherwise is to share the demonstrably false view of the Islamists that the West is ‘Christian’. To seek vengeance against all Muslims for the attacks of a few Islamists is rather like justifying attacks on Christians because of the actions of Westboro Baptist Church.

Christians are more into the cheek turning, pray-for-your-enemies, love your neighbour example of Jesus than militant revenge. After all, ‘”vengeance is mine” says the Lord’. Any Christian expressing anything but contempt for the actions of Darren Osbourne have failed to grasp the teachings of Jesus Christ. Whilst few are credibly going to argue Osbourne was remotely inspired by Christian principles, genuine liberals are into the Voltaire principle of defending to the death your right to say (or believe) that with which we disagree. Darren Osbourne launched an attack against that dearly held British value too. Anyone who seeks to kill Muslims because they are Muslims shares more in common with Islamists than Britain. They erode our basic freedoms, they undermine our way of life and they attack us all.

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