The deadly assaults on Paris and Beirut must not be used as justification for more killing and bloodshed, those attending a solidarity rally were told on Monday night.
Michael Arthur, a representative from the North West Regional College Students Union, said young people in the north west were “frankly disgusted at the actions that took place in Paris this week”.
He was one of around 100 people who gathered despite the cold at Guildhall Square on Monday night for an event organised by the Derry Anti-War Coalition.
He said: “ISIS is one of these groups that uses its own religion to justify its own sanity and to justify its own barbarism.
“I’m sure many of us here have no doubt ISIS don’t represent true Muslims and that ISIS only represent true insanity, and at the same time with all the murders that happened in Paris, we cannot let this justify more murders happening in the Middle East.
“We need to come together and find a social solution to what’s happening in the Middle East. We have to show solidarity with Paris but also with Beirut and Damascus.”
ISIS is one of these groups that uses religion its own religion to justify its own sanity and to justify its own barbarism.Michael Arthur, North West Regional College
Earlier Becca Bor from the Derry Anti-War Coalition (DAWC) opened the event by saying: “Once again another tragedy is being turned into an excuse and a justification for more war, more blaming immigrants, more Islamaphobia and we wanted to come out today and say ‘not in our name’- we shouldn’t use tragedy to egg on world war.”
Eileen Webster from trade union NIPSA meanwhile said: “No-one would support what happened in Paris on Friday night- an absolute abomination. The answer is definitely not the bombing of Syria.
“The increase of repressive powers and legislation, which is what we will now see a clamour for in the west, is not what is needed. The repression or the removal of freedoms has never led to greater freedom, and that’s a given. The imperialist interventions in the Middle East, be they British, American or even French, have become the seed beds of increased sectarianism in those countries.
“The answer is to be found in the building of the anti-war movements world-wide.”
The people of France are not all standing behind their president in supporting war, Sean Harkin from DWAC said.
“It’s simply not true, and we know as real internationalists we have to stand in solidarity with anybody in France in speaking out against the French government,” he added.
Eamonn McCann added: “The overwhelming majority, 95% minimum, of the victims of Islamic State terrorism have been Muslims. This isn’t a question of Muslim people fighting against the Christian west, far from it. They are overwhelmingly the victims of the sectarian hatred of Islamic State.
“We should also keep in mind when we here people say we have to keep migrants out; that there are members of Islamic State going to secret themselves among migrants and refugees across Europe, the fact of the matter is that hundreds of thousands of the migrants on the move across Europe are fleeing from Islamic State.
“What a savage irony it is that in fleeing from this murderous bunch of terrorists that they are told they cannot go any further because of a suspicion that the people they are fleeing from are actually among them. What an insult.”