In Response to the Recent Attacks in Peshawar and Sydney

The Dialogue Society wholeheartedly condemns the recent terrorist attacks in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Sydney, Australia. The targeting of innocent civilians in schools or other public places is an abhorrent crime which can never be justified. We extend our deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims, their families, and the people of both Pakistan and Australia.

In Peshawar, 141 children and their teachers were murdered in their school, while in Sydney a lone gunman killed two hostages and injured a number of others after laying siege to a café. Such developments and the way in which they are reported and perceived have the potential to negatively affect community relations in the UK. What is more, the UK is also at risk of such attacks, including so-called ‘lone wolf’ terrorists who are far more difficult to catch and intercept.

These horrific attacks against some of the most vulnerable members of society run contrary to the tenets of religion and fundamental human dignity, and we must not allow those who commit acts of terrorism or violent extremism to succeed in their attempt to spread fear and division. Our response must therefore be one of unity, and as an organisation founded on the principles of dialogue between people at all levels, greater understanding and social cohesion, we remain committed to tackling prejudice and hatred in all its forms.

Those who commit such acts must know that they will only succeed in turning us against them, and that society at large of all faiths, religions, cultures and backgrounds will unite against those who commit terrorist actions, regardless of their so-called justifications, motivations or ideology.


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Notes to editors

1. The Dialogue Society was established in London in 1999 by British Muslims of Turkish background who were inspired by the teachings and example of Fethullah Gülen. It aims to promote dialogue and advance social cohesion by connecting communities through discussion forums, courses, capacity building publications and outreach. The Dialogue Society is not a religious or ethnic organisation, but rather aims to facilitate dialogue on a whole range of social issues, regardless of any particular faith or religion. It stands for democracy, human rights, the non-instrumentalisation of religion in politics, equality and freedom of speech. For more information, see:

2. The Dialogue Society’s recent publications include an exploration of the Islamic basis for dialogue and intercultural harmony and respect, entitled ‘Dialogue in Islam’. This book and our other publications (including a policy paper, ‘Deradicalisation by Default’) are available at: