The whole world has been shocked by the events in Paris last Friday. At least 129 people, including one British national, were killed from seven co-ordinated terrorist attacks. Hundreds more were left injured, many critically.
Any murder is of course horrific, but what is truly chilling about the Paris attacks is the co-ordination, the scale and the determination to inflict as much death and terror as possible amongst innocent civilians doing everyday things on a Friday night.
Two explosions at the football ground during the match between France and Germany. Attacks on a restaurant, a pizza place and a bar. The most deadly attack was at the Bataclan concert venue, where a crowd of about 1,500 people were watching a rock concert.
Gunmen walked into the concert hall and started firing methodically at hundreds of people. Suicide bombers then blew themselves up, with the aim to inflict as much death as possible as they took their own lives.
The e atrocities were carried out in the name of ISIS.
Let’s be clear too: it was not carried out in the name of Islam. Muslims are horrified at the murder and have rightly stood up to condemn this violence.
On Sunday I was proud to attend the Peace Seminar at the Mosque on Brougham Terrace as part of the celebration by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for 10 years of the Mosque. There the community came together in horror and condemnation for the loss of innocent lives.
The whole world has rallied to France. The football match this week at Wembley between England and France was a very moving and symbolic standing together of the two nations, showing that sport can unite people who are grieving and in fear and demonstrate solidarity.
And what of Britain? There will be people who will want to use this appalling event as an opportunity to sow more seeds of division, hatred and racism. That must be confronted as much as possible. This horror should bring people together, not seek to divide.
The first task of government, regardless of politics, is to keep British citizens safe. The Government should ensure that plans for such attacks as those seen in France should be thwarted here.
That means reviewing once again our security capabilities to ensure we have all resources necessary to protect our population.
This genuinely is not meant to be a political point, but the current cuts to the police forces around the country must be looked at again.
Police on the ground are very often the first line of defence and of collecting low-level intelligence which can prove vital in stopping any groundswell of terrorist activity.
The Government needs to operate as a fully-fledged member of the international community.
Any response to this sort of attack is not the responsibility of France alone, but a coherent strategy operated by a united group of nations.
Last week the town was proud to remember those who had fallen in defence of our freedoms. Those freedoms are under threat from a group of extremist murderers, not based on religion or persecution, but intent on peddling hate and terror and wishing to undermine our values and way of life.
They can’t be allowed to win. By standing united and showing defiance, as well as having coordinated and well thought through strategies, they won’t.