The sickening Paris attacks shocked us all. They weren’t just attacks on France, but attacks on our shared values and way of life. Seeing such horrific tragedy being inflicted on a city that so many of us associate with joy, love and freedom has been deeply upsetting. At the same time, it has been profoundly moving to see the courage and resilience of the French people and the solidarity shown with them from around the world, including in the UK. When emotions run high, it is important that our responses are made with great care. Most of all, we must remember that the main aim of these attacks was to sow division and conflict in our societies. Provoking resentment against refugees and Muslims is exactly what these terrorists want. It is crucial that steps are immediately taken to improve security and intelligence cooperation across the EU, and Britain needs to help in these actions to combat terrorism. But we must not blame the vulnerable refugees fleeing the very same kind of atrocities we saw in Paris. Nothing shattered the hateful world view of ISIS more than the sight of Syrian refugees being warmly welcomed into Europe. Our strongest weapons against this twisted ideology are not bombs, but unity, tolerance and compassion.
Catherine Bearder MEP
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