The events of the past week have shocked everyone in the United Kingdom. At noon today, when the country stops for two minutes' silence, we have a chance to remember and reflect.
Our thoughts and prayers will be with those caught up in these terrible events, and we will recall with gratitude the wonderful work of the emergency services. The way in which London has coped in the past week is, I think, a cause for real national pride.
News of the breakthrough in the Police investigation has now switched media attention from the victims to the perpetrators of this monstrous crime. Inevitably, people will be asking how it might be that young men brought up in this country can set out to cause such grief and mayhem among their fellow citizens.
Although the facts are not yet clear, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that some deeply evil influence has been brought to bear on these impressionable young minds. We seem to be seeing a cycle, from Bali to Baghdad, from New York to London, of willing recruits sacrificing their young lives to slaughter innocent people in some inhuman cause.
Some may think this cause is Islam. It is anything but. It is a perversion of traditional Islam. As I understand it, Islam preaches humanity, tolerance and a sense of community, as do Christianity, Judaism and all the great faiths. It is for this reason that so many Muslims have been quick to condemn these and other atrocities. They are right to say that these acts have nothing to do with any true faith.
Those who claim to have murdered in the name of Islam have no care for the lives they have so brutally destroyed. Offended by the good relations between faiths and cultures, the extremists seek to break up the communities that make up our modern, multi-cultural society.
Britain has the proudest tradition of accommodating new communities. Over recent centuries we have seen how, first Protestants, then Jews, then Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus, have enhanced not just the towns and cities where they have settled, but the whole of society.
If we are to sustain this tradition, and the other great British virtues of good neighbourliness, tolerance and pragmatism, it is vital that everyone resists the temptation to condemn the Muslim community for the actions of such a tiny and evil minority. If we succumb to that temptation, the bombers will have achieved their aim.
Likewise, in my view, it is the duty of every true Muslim to condemn these atrocities and root out those among them who preach and practice such hatred and bitterness. Muslims will do this not just because of their faith, but because it is the duty of us all to respect and uphold the law.
Two generations or so after the Blitz, the resilience and courage of Londoners have again inspired the world. If the United Kingdom's many communities can now show, by their determination to work together, that they can stamp out the wickedness which perpetrated these terrible crimes, we will once more have set an example for history.