MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

I, like the rest of Great Britain, was left deeply saddened after hearing about the recent shocking events which happened in Woolwich.

It is always terrible to learn about the loss of a member of our armed forces while they are away fighting on the front line, but when a soldier is killed in such a brutal manner in broad daylight on a public street here in the UK, it brings home keenly the terrible toll paid by some as we attempt to make the world a safer place for all.

Police investigating the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby are as anxious as anyone to see justice is done and continue to make arrests as the inquiry into his death continues.

But make no mistake, this was not just an attack on our British way of life, it was also a betrayal of Islam – and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.

There is nothing in Islam which promotes this kind of extremism and terrorism has been responsible for the deaths of more Muslims than those of any other religion. That is why there is absolutely no justification behind these acts and the fault for them lies purely with the individuals who carry them out.

Confronting extremism in all walks of life is a job for us all but one which should be undertaken soberly and without targeting the innocent because of race or religion.

It has been disappointing that some people have seen this tragic event as an opportunity to try to promote a racist agenda. Recent attacks on mosques are intolerable and play directly into the hands of the extremists, whose aim it is to spread fear and hatred within our communities.

In Drummer Rigby’s case, I know the security services will not rest until they have brought all those responsible to justice.

In Fylde, members of the armed forces past and present are integral to our communities and many will know soldiers based at Weeton or have come into contact with them throughout their daily lives.

I’m sure I speak for the whole constituency when I pass on my deepest condolences to Drummer Rigby’s family and his military colleagues while continuing to remember the sacrifices made by so many local soldiers who have lost their lives fighting for freedom.

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