Love music, hate Islamism

Seven years after the Manchester Arena bombing, we need to confront the hateful, joyless ideology that inspired it.

Mark Birbeck

Topics Politics World

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Seven years ago today, Ariana Grande fans were looking forward to seeing their idol perform at Manchester Arena. You can imagine the giddy excitement many of them must have felt as they approached the venue that evening. The joy that surged through them as Grande stepped on to the stage and started singing.

Now try to imagine what it takes to want to destroy this joy. Try to imagine what it must take to pack a rucksack with 3,000 nuts and bolts and explosives and head out with the intention of killing young people enjoying themselves. Such a nihilistic, destructive action cuts against everything we feel, think and believe.

But that was exactly what 22-year-old Salman Abedi did. In May 2017, he bombed a pop concert. In the name of Islamism, in the name of his hatred of the West, he slaughtered young people enjoying themselves.

In some ways, the elite response to the Manchester Arena bombing compounded the horror of the act itself. The victims of Abedi’s attack had barely been buried before liberal-left pundits and politicos said almost as one, ‘Don’t look back in anger’. We were being told to remember the young lives lost, but to forget why they had been taken. We were being told to remember the victims, but to forget the perpetrator and his Islamist beliefs.

On 7 October last year, in southern Israel, Islamists once again targeted young people dancing and listening to music. Once again, they set out to extinguish youthful joy. Those Hamas operatives on that awful day saw those young people dancing at the Nova music festival, and decided to shoot, rape and mutilate hundreds of them. Another 40 were kidnapped.

What Hamas did to those festival-goers was as evil as what Salman Abedi did to those young Ariana Grande fans. This time, however, we haven’t been told to remember the victims, but ignore the Islamist cause. We haven’t been told not to look back in anger. No, the ‘progressive’ left and much of the establishment are ordering us not to look back at all.

This is clear from the outrage that’s emerged over Supernova: The Music Festival Massacre, a documentary about the barbaric events of that day, which is set to be shown at the Phoenix cinema in north London on Thursday. Such is the hatred of Israel among the pro-Palestine crowd that they plan to protest against the screening. In their twisted logic, any cinema showing a film that celebrates young people’s joy and damns the terrorist destruction of that joy is participating in Zionist ‘propaganda’.

There are terrorists to the right of us, and their cheerleaders to the left. They will only grow in confidence the longer we fail to take the political ideology of Islamism seriously.

This is an ideology that sets its adherents against Western society. That is why so many academics, students and progressives have turned into its apologists. They are all so desperate to attack the West that they will happily align themselves with Islamism, ignoring both its deep, historical anti-Semitic foundations and its anti-Semitic barbarity today.

We need to start standing up to the West’s haters. That means defending the immense gains of Western civilisation. It also means defending the right of our young people to embrace the joy of living. To be free to go to concerts and festivals without fear. Salman Abedi tried to destroy this youthful spirit in Manchester seven years ago, and Hamas tried to do so again at the Nova festival last October. We must not let the Islamists win.

Mark Birbeck is a co-founder of Our Fight, a new campaign in support of Israel and against anti-Semitism. Visit the website here and follow them on X: @OurFightUK.

Picture by: Getty.

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Topics Politics World


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