This week we have learnt of the death of Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, the official Daesh spokesman who brainwashed young people to stay in their own countries and carry out “lone-wolf” attacks on innocent civilians. Daesh will bluster on about their strength but there is no getting away from the fact that this is a major blow to their organisation.
It was Adnani who called on Muslims to attack people in the West, telling them to use any means available, including running them down with a car, throwing them from a high building or smashing their heads with a rock. There were no depths to Adnani’s depravity, he even called for attacks on civilians during the Holy Month of Ramadan. Muslims with a secure understanding of their faith knew he was perverting it in the worst way imaginable. His speeches have been credited for inspiring a spate of atrocities including the crushing by truck of 84 people in Nice on Bastille Day and the murder of a French police commander and his partner at their home on the outskirts of Paris in June.
Let’s not imagine that the threat has been removed. As they watch their leaders die and their territory shrink, Daesh have become desperate and will continue to pose a threat to us. They will tell the vulnerable young people in our communities that Adnani is a great martyr who must be avenged. We must counter these messages at every turn. Our children must understand that Adnani was just a deranged, violent man who was an insult to the great religion of Islam.
The military campaign against Daesh will continue in the Middle East and Africa but the real front line is in our homes. This is where the battle of hearts and minds is being fought. If we stay strong as families, Daesh doesn’t stand a chance.