British Muslims Remember Victims of 7/7

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Ahead of the tenth anniversary of the 7 July bombings, British mosques hosted ‘Peace Iftars’ to remember and pray for all victims of terrorism and stand in solidarity in peace.

The events are being held around the country with mosques inviting local communities around them of all faiths and none to join in commemoration and break bread with Muslims as they break their fast in this holy month of Ramadan.

To mark the events, the Muslim Council of Britain organised a national Iftar at the Islamic Cultural Centre in London. British Muslim leaders were joined by leaders from other faiths and civil society organisations.

In his speech to the event, Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said:

“The best way to defy the terrorist is to increase our bonds of unity, not to single out any one group of people for blame or opprobrium, especially if they had nothing to do with such carnage and have actively spoken out against it.

“Muslims find it hard to challenge the warped paths terrorists follow precisely because the terrorists recruit outside of mosques and from the fringes of the internet.

Our challenge as a British Muslim community is to redouble our efforts and provide a stronger voice and platform for young people.

One where they can express their anxieties and engage confidently without being labelled as extremist.

It also involves leadership in wider society too. Words matter here too. Singling out an entire community and demanding apologies from them helps no one. It increases alienation, and does not help work out the problems.

For the last ten years we have had endless debates about how we tackle terrorism. Now, the government is proposing a raft of new strategies to try again.

At the MCB as well, we are initiating a grassroots conversation to explore alternative strategies.

These debates continue in parallel, even though we have a common objective.

So tonight, I am making a plea tonight that we draw a line, move beyond narrow ideological baggage, and work together to tackle terrorism.”

 

Read speech in full:

“Despite the evil that was visited upon us on 7/7, we come here hoping for peace and praying for a world free from violence.

Just before the bombs struck ten years ago, our city and indeed the whole country was celebrating the fact that London was to host the Olympics.

We showed the world why London was a deserving place for the Olympics, given our city’s rich multicultural and multi-faith diversity and dynamism.

Yet sadness quickly overtook that jubilation with the attacks on our city.

However, even in the midst of this mayhem, many in our city pulled together, united in my their condemnation of terrorism, and in their determination to help the victims.

Yes, people calling themselves Muslims may have been responsible for these atrocities. And their actions were immediately disavowed.

But Muslims were victims of these atrocities as well. And scores of Muslims stood up to tend to the wounded, give blood, and pray for the victims.

London united in defiance. That spirit of unity defied the terrorists, and repudiated their aim to divide people.

Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, in the years since then the Muslim Council of Britain has repeated time and again, and we repeat here today that message.

The best way to defy the terrorist is to increase our bonds of unity, not to single out any one group of people for blame or opprobrium, especially if they had nothing to do with such carnage and have actively spoken out against it.

Our unity, however, has unfortunately been threatened by our own shortcomings. We Muslims have found it increasingly difficult and challenging to make ourselves heard against terrorism’s propaganda of the deed.

Our community too has struggled to find a coherent and compelling voice to counter the narrative that terrorists thrive on.

Even though actions are louder than words, words still matter. And Muslims in word and deed have tried their best to speak out against terrorism.

Yet we find it hard to challenge the warped paths terrorists follow precisely because the terrorists recruit outside of mosques and from the fringes of the internet.

Our challenge as a British Muslim community is to redouble our efforts and provide a stronger voice and platform for young people.

One where they can express their anxieties and engage confidently without being labelled as extremist.

It also involves leadership in wider society too. Words matter here too. Singling out an entire community and demanding apologies from them helps no one. It increases alienation, and does not help work out the problems.

For the last ten years we have had endless debates about how we tackle terrorism. Now, the government is proposing a raft of new strategies to try again.

At the MCB as well, we are initiating a grassroots conversation to explore alternative strategies.

These debates continue in parallel, even though we have a common objective.

So tonight, I am making a plea tonight that we draw a line, move beyond narrow ideological baggage, and work together to tackle terrorism.

We start by remembering and praying for the victims, and praying for peace. For the last two weeks we have witnessed even more violence: in France, in Kuwait with the attack on our Shia brothers, and in Tunisia with so many of our fellow Britons killed.

I hope this event will claim back the spirit of the 7/7 fight back. Where we as communities stood together remembering and tending to the victims.

I welcome you to tonight’s event and invite you to pray for the victims of 7/7 and terrorism since then.

Let us pray for a more peaceful and united society, and let us pray that our leaders have the wisdom and the ability to unite communities in the face of terrorism.