Editor’s comment: We don’t need a tragedy to call out hatred

Vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in the wake of the Muslim Welfare House terror attack. Picture: C

Vigil outside Finsbury Park Mosque in the wake of the Muslim Welfare House terror attack. Picture: CATHERINE DAVISON - Credit: Archant

It’s a sad fact that it often takes a tragedy to open our eyes to the good around us.

A terrorist attack on a crowd of worshippers is a catastrophe, plain and simple. But I would challenge anyone to read our report of the vigil for the victims of the Seven Sisters Road attack, look at the pictures of a community united against hate, and not feel proud.

The weekend before the attack, Great Get Together events across the UK had brought together different parts of the community in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox. One took place at the Muslim Welfare House. How poignant that her widower Brendan was at the vigil on Monday.

It is in the name of defeating hate that an entirely different set of stories have found their way into this week’s Gazette: coverage of Hackney’s year-long LGBTQI+ pride festival as it gets under way. For those needing a breakdown, that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer and intersex. Those words won’t mean a lot to everyone, but they are important to the people who use them, and that means we should make the effort to learn about and respect them.

I don’t say that simply because queer history is interesting and has been part of Hackney for a very long time, but because this stuff can be a lifesaver. Imagine something as simple as going to a public toilet, getting a haircut or holding hands with your partner being political. Things you or I might take for granted are a daily struggle for some people.

That’s why the business network has been founded. Knowing there are places you can go about your business without being in danger or self-conscious is something everyone has a right to. So long as businesses know what’s required of them once they sign up, and are held to it, the network is a great idea.

We don’t need a tragedy to treat each other like human beings.