Two days ago I blogged on terrorism. Today I am numb.
A suicide bomber has targeted a pop concert in Manchester. At the last count 22 have been killed, the youngest an 8 year old girl. My prayers are with the victims, their families and the people of Manchester.
But we do not hate.
Hate is how weak people react.
At time like this we need to be strong.
So there shall be no stereotyping of people for being Middle Eastern, or North African, or Muslim. None of these things make a terrorist. The role of the terrorist is terror, to undermine our trust in the government, the police and security services to keep us safe.
But this has me shocked. To target a group so young is the worst act of weakness and cowardice that I have seen. Because they are weak their only weapon is hate. If we hate back they have won a victory, they have weakened us, and as a result there is more hate in the world. We do not choose hate, we choose love. Love for those of different races, different religions. Love for the asylum seeker and the migrant, because love drives out hate.
I know Manchester, it is just 26 miles away over the Pennines, I have friends in Manchester. In my youth I went to concerts in Manchester. My heart and prayers are with Manchester. We stand together with Manchester. We will not allow terrorist to divide us.