It’s painful to remember that, a year and three days ago, there hadn’t been a terrorist attack in Britain since 2013. Now we wake up to a suspected fifth: a van mowing down worshippers leaving Finsbury Park mosque in the early hours of Monday morning, as people were leaving the Iftar feast – the breaking of the fast of Ramadan that occurs after dusk.
There have been multiple casualties, and the driver has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
The seemingly relentless nature of the attacks – the assassination of Jo Cox by a white supremacist, the Westminster attacks, the Manchester bombing, and the attack on Borough Market by jihadists, now this attack on London’s Muslim community – only adds to the general feeling of unease and terror.
It’s easy to feel as if the United Kingdom is becoming unrelentingly worse, particularly when the fire at Grenfell Tower is added to the mix.
But we should focus on the immense grace and compassion that have come out of this past year, too. The Jo Cox Foundation’s Great Get Together. Ariana Grande returning to Manchester just days after the attack at her concert to raise money for the victims. Andy Burnham’s moral leadership just days after taking office. Sadiq Khan’s dignity under fire from Donald Trump. The small boy who gave the pocket money he had saved to the Grenfell fire relief effort.
It’s been a year of considerable darkness but one in which light has shone through, too.