Vincent Nichols: Never blame a whole community for the actions of a few

From a sermon by the Roman Catholic Archbishop on the 30th anniversary of the pub bombings in Birmingham

Share
Related Topics

Just a stone's throw from here it has been possible to see a fine collection of photographs of many different parts of our world. The exhibition is of the photographic work of Yann Arthus Bertrand, and goes under the title of "Earth from the Air". When looking at this exhibition, one of the printed comments caught my attention. It read: "From a distance our world looks beautiful. It is only when you take a closer look that the detail can shock you."

Just a stone's throw from here it has been possible to see a fine collection of photographs of many different parts of our world. The exhibition is of the photographic work of Yann Arthus Bertrand, and goes under the title of "Earth from the Air". When looking at this exhibition, one of the printed comments caught my attention. It read: "From a distance our world looks beautiful. It is only when you take a closer look that the detail can shock you."

These words reminded me of the chain of events that hit this city 30 years ago today, 21 November 1974. I was not here, but many people have told me of their memories of that moment: a simple evening out shattered by explosions and chaos; the terrible anxious waiting for the return of loved ones, once the news of the explosions had broken; the sense of shock and outrage that had to attach itself to somewhere, even irrationally and unfairly; theseeping numbness that comes when news of injury and death becomes personal; the years of heartache and anguish that follow. Twenty-one people died that night; 160 were seriously injured.

The community of this city was deeply affected; some would say divided. I stand here as a Catholic bishop. I have no real links with Ireland. But I am aware that fellow Catholics, and most Irish people, knew that in the days and months that followed those bombs they were viewed with suspicion, sometimes treated with disdain and, at times, even threatened.

Today, I know, that many members of the Islamic faith feel aggrieved whenever they hear, on radio, TV or in conversation, the casual phrase "Islamic terrorists". Terrorists, yes. But let us not repeat the mistakes of years ago and include all Muslims in a sweeping condemnation that lacks both accuracy and respect.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Ashdown Group: Front-End Developer - London - up to £40,000

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...

Recruitment Genius: Product Quality Assurance Technologist - Hardline & Electric

£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...

Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

CPAC 2015: What I learnt from the US — and what the US could learn from Ukip

Nigel Farage
 

If I were Prime Minister: I would create a government that actually reflects its people

Kaliya Franklin
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower