FIRST Madrid. Then London. Then Paris. And now a bloodied – but unbowed – Brussels. There were chilling echoes of past atrocities as the Belgian capital became the latest European city to be targeted by fanatical Islamist terrorists.
It was a day that the peace-seeking people of Brussels had long feared from the moment the international search for the perpetrators of last November’s Paris attacks switched to their city. But nothing could prepare them for the slaughter of so many innocent lives.
As the world stood shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with this country after the July 7 bombings 11 years ago, the thoughts of this country are with the Belgian people in their hour of need.
David Cameron struck a statesmanlike tone when he expressed this nation’s support and sympathy while instigating a reappraisal of security arrangements here, and across Europe, ahead of the Easter getaway.
He did also acknowledge the likelihood of this issue polarising the European Union referendum when he decided not to demean himself, or his office, by responding to distasteful party political pointscoring made by Ukip representatives before the grim task of recovering the bodies had even begun.
It is paramount that this outrage does not undermine inter-faith relations in this country – or across Europe.
If people with extreme prejudices do start turning on each other, they will only propagate the dastardly intentions of those terrorists who have to resort to such violent actions in the vain hope of diving and ruling communities because they know that their twisted ideology will never secure a democratic mandate.
As Leeds imam Qari Asim MBE said with such eloquence yesterday: “The terrible blasts and killings are not only an attack on the people of Brussels, but an attack on all of us.
“Through their evil actions, the terrorists have shown that they have no regard for any religion or humanity.
“They are committing terror and killing people indiscriminately, across the globe, irrespective of faith, nationality and background of the victims.”
The most powerful of denunciations, they are words that need to be heeded by all as Brussels counts and mourns its dead.