PRESIDENT OF FAITH MATTERS: RT HON SIMON HUGHES MP
Faith Matters is a not for profit organisation founded in 2005 which works to reduce extremism and interfaith and intra-faith tensions and we develop platforms for discourse and interaction between Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Jewish and Hindu communities across the globe. We have offices in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the Middle East (Jerusalem)
Nearly 3000 People in Tunisia May Be Fighting With ISIS in Iraq and Syria
The murders of Kuwaitis, Tunisians and French nationals shows that the scourge of extremism is based on a global footing and that the targets have been members of the Shia community and individuals from European countries.
Tunisia will no doubt suffer from the impact on its tourism. Yet, there are over 3,000 people suspected to be fighting with ISIS from Tunisia and that there has been a significant pull of Tunisians to the nihilistic group. Some of these individuals may have returned to Tunisia and if they are not engaged in violent activities in Tunisia, they will no doubt be lionised and will have influence over other Tunisians. Full details have yet to come out about the background of the perpetrator.
We must also bear in mind the fact that Shia communities are consistently targeted by extremist ISIS influenced individuals. One of the cornerstones of thinking of ISIS sympathisers is a hatred towards the Shia and this is one indicator of risk which needs to be included in security assessments.
Just last week, the Hussania Centre in Bradford suffered anti-Shia graffiti suggesting that Shia were heretics. A 14 year old boy has been arrested for the graffiti, yet the question should also be asked as to whether there is a resonance of the anti-Shia rhetoric in the United Kingdom. Initial work done by TELL MAMA, a national project that Faith Matters co-ordinates, shows that anti-Shia rhetoric and activities are not extensive and are very limited. Yet, they bubble under the surface because of Syria and we must remain vigilant against them.
Where there are anti-Shia activities, we say, there could well be a receptiveness to ISIS ideology. We must remain vigilant and our thoughts go out to the families of those who have lost loved ones. ISIS wants a 'clash of civilisations'. We must never allow that to happen.