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Islamic terrorism remains a global issue – with the horrific bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, which claimed over 250 lives, just the latest example. In that case, Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility, but the extent of its direct involvement remains unclear.
What we know for certain is that murdering innocent people in their homes or places of worship, or as they go about their daily business, yields outrage, fear and grief. It turns people against one another, and invites retribution. Terror is a vicious cycle, always a catastrophe for its victims, inevitably a calamity for its perpetrators, and unavoidably a cost for humanity.
But can community leaders help mitigate this? In ongoing research, partly funded by the University of Portsmouth, we asked more specifically how Muslim leaders should respond in communities simultaneously blamed for and victimised by terrorism.