Counter-terrorism, forgiveness and saying ‘no’ to hate with Figen Murray

Ep.8 05/11/2020

Content notes: bereavement, terrorism

‘I am not prepared to hate’

On 22nd May 2017, Figen Murray tragically lost her son Martyn in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack, a devastating event that changed her forever. When almost a month later at the Finsbury Park Mosque attack Figen saw images of men, including the imam of the mosque, protecting the attacker from being harmed, she was moved by their response. It struck her that people decide how to respond to a situation, and that she wanted her response to be forgiveness. She went on national news and publicly forgave the perpetrator for the killing of her son.

Since then, Figen has dedicated her life to counter-terrorism, and understanding the minds of those who commit terrorist acts so as to help to prevent future attacks. After being shocked at the young age of the perpetrator of the Manchester attack, she knew young people was the best place to start to make an impact. She has presented to over 7,500 school students about the dangers of terrorism and online radicalisation, focusing on ‘promoting kindness, and respect, and tolerance’.

Standing up for justice, Figen is also campaigning for the implementation of Martyn’s Law, which would require increased security in public venues in order to deter terrorist threats and keep the public safe. Currently halfway through her Master’s degree in Counter-terrorism, Figen talks Krish through the role society has in creating terrorists, and how we need to understand the role we play in order to help prevent further harm. She stresses that ‘kindness is important, tolerance is important’ and that we need to celebrate rather than fear difference; one act of kindness a day is a good place to start.

See more about the work Figen Murray is involved with by following her on Twitter, or Google ‘Figen Murray’ to find her website.