LETTER: ‘Us’ and ‘them’ not helpful

EVER since September 11, 2001, our sense of threat has been growing. With each devastating blow we have become increasingly anxious and tried to identify potential perpetrators in our midst.

It’s easiest to label a group when we cannot find individuals and so followers of Islam, with the reported urgings of Muhammad, have become our target.

The appalling attacks in Paris have dominated the news (and rightly so) and there has been an abundance of analysis to explain these horror events.

On The Conversation, Aurelien Mondon, lecturer in French and comparative politics at the University of Bath (‘‘Paris terror attacks: France now faces fight against fear and exclusion’’ 14/11), wrote: ‘‘The climate of fear was reinforced by the 24-hour news media’s tendency to not only relate the facts, but to encourage speculation.

‘‘This would be playing right into the hands of the terrorists themselves. A war of civilisations is the very fantasy IS and its ilk are trying to construct. They seek to enshrine divisions between an imagined ‘us’ in the West, standing together for a loosely defined version of democracy, and ‘them’.’’

We need to remain calm and to avoid blaming those in our midst who are innocent. The ‘‘us and them’’  mentality has the potential to destroy our democracy. 

Scott Bell-Ellercamp,

Clarence Town