Muslims urge unity as Plaistow 7/7 victim is remembered
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
Ten years on from the July 7 Islamist bombings that killed a Plaistow Muslim, community leaders are urging the borough to remain united in memory of the victims.
Shahara Islam, 20, was on the way to work at the Co-operative Bank in Islington when a deviation from her usual route landed her on the Number 30 bus – across the aisle from suicide bomber Hasib Hussain.
Hussain detonated his bomb at 9.47am, killing Shahara and 12 others.
Former mayor of Newham Abdul Karim Sheikh visited Shahara’s family after the killing, and said he shared their sorrow.
“It was a sad story of that year,” he said. “The family were upset and concerned. We said if there’s any support we can give we will – we were all feeling sorrow.”
He added that though the knock-on effect of the attack resulted in Islamophobic attacks, the borough was mostly united in its response.
“We never expected that sort of thing to happen in Britain,” he said. “Islamophobic attacks increased up and down the country. But now community relations are a lot better the tension has disappeared.”
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And now 77-year-old Abdul, in his role as chair of Newham North Islamic Association, is working to maintain cohesion with interfaith group Faithful Friends.
“We want to live together side by side,” he said. “We sympathise with those who were killed in that sad incident and still feel sorry for them.”
Zulfikar Ali, chair of the Alliance of Muslim Organisations of Newham, has joined him in his call for unity, saying it’s vital to fight extremism.
“We remember those who lost their lives – they should not have lost their lives the way they did,” he said. “It’s important we work together to tackle these things in our community – it’s for us to make sure we speak out and deal with these issues. After 7/7 we were trying to manage and maintain cooperation by working with people and trying to make sure there’s harmony in the community. We live in a multicultural society so whatever happens in London affects us all. It’s just unfortunate that she happened to be there – but it could have been any of us.”