Bishop of Peterborough says response to terror attacks must include making Muslim communities feel safe and welcome

On 5th December 2017 a Government statement was repeated in the House of Lords about David Anderson’s report on recent terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. The Bishop of Peterborough, Rt Revd Donald Allister, asked a follow up question:

 The Lord Bishop of Peterborough: My Lords, from these Benches I very much welcome the Statement and the sentiments in it, particularly its focus on the direct victims. However, there are also indirect victims of such attacks—those who are made to feel more afraid simply to go about their daily lives. That includes a lot of people, not least many in our Muslim communities. Does the noble Earl agree that, as a result of these attacks, it is very important to do all we can to increase the feeling of safety among those in Muslim communities, seeing them not just as people who must be targeted for information but as people who are part of our wider community and whom we must cherish and care for, helping them to feel safe and welcome? This includes not just community policing but many other areas of work with them, and it includes a very strong focus on dealing with right-wing extremism, which would threaten those communities.

Earl Howe: The right reverend Prelate makes a series of excellent points and I of course agree that we need to remember that there are sometimes hidden ​victims in all this, not least in our ethnic minority communities, who may feel—wrongly, in my view—that they are being put under pressure or discriminated against. However, that feeling needs to be addressed, and I know it is very real among some communities.

On victim support more generally, we are very aware of the need to ensure that effective, comprehensive and co-ordinated support is available, which is why the Government created a new cross-government victims of terrorism unit earlier this year. We have worked closely with each local area affected by the attacks, alongside the police, the third sector and other agencies, to make sure that support to victims is comprehensive and effectively delivered.