Wednesday 25 April 2018

Dundalk attack wasn't terrorism, but it's foolish to be complacent

It's right to tread warily when strangers arrive in Ireland with no ID or apparent reason to be here, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Gardai investigate a stabbing incident on the Avenue Road in Dundalk which has left one man dead. Picture: Arthur Carron
Gardai investigate a stabbing incident on the Avenue Road in Dundalk which has left one man dead. Picture: Arthur Carron

The news takes a predictable pattern. Some awful random attack occurs. People are hurt, killed. The perpetrator then turns out to be a Muslim migrant.

Speculation quickly abounds as to whether the attacker had a terrorist motive. In the absence of concrete facts, racists leap on the attack to prove either that borders are too porous, or that Muslims are innately savage, or both. People desperate not to be associated with this bigotry condemn the racists.

If the attack turns out to have a terrorist motive, racists are jubilant, while those more sympathetic to immigration insist the actions of one man should not be used to tarnish all Muslims, because most Muslims are peaceful and law abiding. If, on the other hand, mental health issues are pinpointed as the most likely cause, bigots start whispering about a cover-up, while defenders of the Islamic community say: "See? We told you there was nothing to worry about."

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