Mosques all over the UK will open their doors to people of all faiths and none tonight during the “Iftar” meal at sunset on the 10th anniversary of the London 7/7 bombings.
The “Peace Iftars”, which have already begun taking place, are a chance to “remember and pray for all victims of terrorism and stand in solidarity in peace”.
Today’s events are set to take place around the country with mosques inviting their local communities to join in commemoration and to “break bread with Muslims as they break their fast in this holy month of Ramadan”. A national “Iftar” has been organised at the Islamic Cultural Centre in London.
The Islamic Cultural Centre said: “Our thoughts, our prayers and condolences go out to all the victims of these terrible terrorist attacks. As citizens and co-workers of this great city, we share the concerns and fears of fellow Londoners. We use the same transport and live and work in the same buildings and any attack is an attack on us all.”
At Friday prayers this week, the Muslim Council urged imams to discuss the 7/7 anniversary and more recent terror attacks including in Tunisia. The religious leaders were encouraged to remind people “that these killers do not respect the sanctity of life as laid down in Islam”.
Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “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.”
Police are foiling a terrorism plot as big as the 7 July attacks every year, a senior officer has said. Mr Osborne, the UK’s senior national co-ordinator for counter-terrorism, said Islamic extremists were planning in smaller groups to avoid detection. This came as the Home Office revealed the number of terror arrests had risen by 60% in the year to September 2012. The total of people held on suspicion of terrorism-related offences over the 12 months to September 2012, rose to 245 from 153 the previous year. Of those arrested, 45 (18%) were charged with a terror-related offence, with 10 convicted and 25 awaiting trial. One of the remaining 10 had been acquitted, while the other nine had been convicted over non-terror related offences. There were 134 prisoners classified as terrorists or domestic extremists by the end of September last year. A total of 2,291 terrorism arrests had been made since the September 11 attacks on America in 2001. The report however highlighted that the special police powers to stop and search people for terrorist material had not been used once since they were introduced in March 2011.
Following the 7/7 bombings, many of the victims’ families had called for a public inquiry into the bombings to establish whether the attacks could have been prevented by the police and MI5. Debate especially arose about the fact that the MI5 largely ignored the appearance of Mohammed Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer on their terrorism radar a year earlier. Khan and Tanweer had been caught on surveillance cameras in 2004; however, to disguise the origin of the photograph before showing it to an Al Qaeda informant in the US, the image was cut in halves and cropped, making Tanweer unrecognizable. The picture of Khan was discarded entirely.
The coroner Lady Justice Hallett was critical of the Security Services’ procedures and the decision to crop the image. While she believed that MI5 had held important clues to identify the 7/7 bombers before the attacks, she ruled that Security Services could not have prevented the bombings. However, she pointed out flaws in MI5’s decision-making and recommended reviews of and improvements to their techniques as well as the recording and assessment of targets to prevent events like 7/7 from happening again.
Leaked WikiLeaks documents suggests that Islamists have been radicalised in Britain for many years, and after detention at Guantanamo, have passed through Britain again before fighting against Western forces in Afghanistan. Former Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells now blames “political correctness” for creating an atmosphere of not challenging extremist views and thereby undermining security.
Howells said: “I think that people were terrified of stirring up allegations of racism, of wanting to vilify a particular part of the community. There was a great reluctance to speak about them as a separate part of the community or a community that was undermining our way of life and threatening it.” In this perspective, the 7/7 bombings did not come as a surprise.
Five years after the terrorist attacks on the London underground, the papers review what has changed since then in terms of security, anti-terrorism laws and the situation for British Muslims.
The Guardian features a comment on the lost narrative of British Muslims, who have been “stigmatised en masse” by some media and government policies. Another Guardian article talks of the flaws of neo-liberal government policies towards terrorism that have only increased the risk of new attacks, which another comment in the same paper supports, claiming that the government’s “Prevent strategy” has not made anyone any wiser and urging the government to learn how to work with “ordinary Muslims”. A commentator of The New Statesman describes how his life, being a commuter and a Muslim living in Britain, changed on 7/7 2005. The London Daily News commemorates the victims and lists the names of those deceased in the attacks, while The Independent talked to those who witnessed the bombings but survived them, and gives an insight into how they cope with the experience today.
A new film loosely based around the terrorist bombings in London on July 7th will be released in the cinemas on 22nd August. Directed by American-Indian filmmaker Jagmohan Mundhra, Shoot on Sight stars Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Greta Scacchi, Ralph Ineson and Laila Rouass. When an innocent Muslim is killed by the London Police force in the wake of 7/7, Tariq Ali (Shah), a successful Muslim police officer, is asked to head up the internal investigation to hunt-down suspected suicide-bombers. The investigation is clouded by allegations of racism and religious profiling in the Police force, as well as the ongoing threat of terrorism in the capital. At the same time, Lahore-born Tariq – a British citizen married to an English woman with two children – has his loyalties questioned by colleagues in the force, despite his long service to Scotland Yard, as well as fellow Muslims, finding his inquiry hampered from all sides. Producer Aron Govil said: “This film raises important questions about the climate of fear post 7/7 and the direct impact of that terrible day. While we are mindful that the families are still grieving, it is important to look at the climate within which Londoners now live and work and have been forced to deal with on an ongoing basis.”http://themuslimweekly.com/newsdetails/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=3C276B981D87BEA7DDB64FC4&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News
A party is being held at the grave of a 7/7 bomber in what is being described as an insult to the 52 London commuters murdered three years ago today. The family of Shehzad Tanweer and 400 guests will “celebrate his life” and “remember him as a martyr” at a village in Pakistan today. Tanweer, 22, Mohammad Sidique Khan, 30, Hasib Hussain, 18, and 19-year-old Jermaine Lindsay also died when they detonated rucksack bombs on three crowded Tube trains and a No30 bus. Tanweer’s uncle, 42-year-old property developer Tahir Pervez, is organising the celebration in which verses of the Koran will be read out then curry and rice distributed at his home in Samundari. He said today that he has “fond feelings” for his nephew and planned to visit Tanweer’s mother in Leeds later this month, adding that she was “still devastated” at the loss of her son. Seven people were killed and 171 injured when Tanweer detonated his bomb on a westbound Circle line train near Aldgate station. One villager in Pakistan who asked not be named, said: “The party is kept very secret from people outside the village but everyone knows it happens every year. People are invited to join in blessing Shehzad Tanweer’s soul by reading verses from the Koran and they call on us to remember Shehzad as a shahid (martyr).” The gathering has twice been held in secret – yards from Tanweer’s grave which is fiercely protected from outsiders. It is the largest in the cemetery of the village called Chak 477 and is opposite the mosque. On the grave, his epitaph bears the phrase “La ilaha il Mohammed dur rasool Allah” which means “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger”. Amar Singh reports
London marked the third anniversary on Monday of the suicide bombings on the city’s transport network, with ceremonies at blast sites as survivors and the victims’ families remembered the deadly attacks. A total of 56 people were killed, the four bombers included, in the July 7 2005 blasts that tore through three London Underground trains and a bus at the height of the morning rush hour. London Mayor Boris Johnson, the government’s London minister Tessa Jowell and transport chiefs were among those who laid flowers outside King’s Cross railway station at 07:50 GMT. Johnson’s tribute on his wreath read: “We honour the memory of those who died on 7/7 2005, we salute the courage of those who were injured and our thoughts and prayers are with all victims and their families.” The event was exactly three years on from when three bombs ripped through the Tube trains at the height of the morning rush hour. Survivors and families of the 52 victims visited the three Underground stations – Russell Square, Aldgate and Edgware Road – where the bombs went off, and Tavistock Square, where another home-made bomb later wrecked a double-decker bus. Waiting for compensation payments. Compared to the first anniversary in 2006, subsequent anniversaries of the attacks have been low-key. Twelve months after the bombings, there was a national two-minute silence and a day-long memorial programme. Dozens of the victims’ families and some of the 700 who were injured are still waiting for compensation payments. The attacks, perpetrated by four British Muslims, threw the spotlight on the threat from homegrown extremism, and the extent of opposition to Britain’s foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan among the country’s 1.6-million-strong Muslim community. Three years on, Britain is still facing a “severe” threat from terrorism – the highest level – according to the security services, with increasingly frequent arrests of suspects under anti-terrorism legislation. Last year, Jonathan Evans, the head of the domestic intelligence service MI5, said the number of people with suspected links to extremists in Britain had risen from 1 600 in 2006 to at least 2 000. The government is currently pushing through parliament proposals to increase the pre-charge detention limits for suspected extremists from the current 28 days to 42 days, despite widespread outrage from civil liberties groups.
A film prompted by the 7 July bombings is to be premiered in London on the third anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Shoot On Sight, with a cast including Brian Cox and Greta Scacchi, is a fictionalised account of the killing of an innocent young Muslim man by the Metropolitan police in the wake of the outrage. The real incident killed 52 people as well as the four bombers. Innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was shot dead by police in a later incident. Some of the families of those killed today expressed shock at the ” insensitive” timing of the premiere and said they knew nothing of what is the first movie based on the attacks. Jag Mundhra, the Indian Hindu director who was living in London at the time, said the aim of the film was not to offend. The story is told from the perspective of a Muslim police officer – played by Naseeruddin Shah – with a white wife and children who are well integrated into British society until “something happens and there is this ripple effect in communities that were otherwise co-existing”. It stemmed from Mundhra’s personal experience of the consequences of the 7 July attacks. “I couldn’t stop a taxi after the bombings because of the way I looked,” he said. “Then I started noticing that on television suddenly Scotland Yard was represented by a Muslim police officer [Tarique Ghaffur]. I knew it was because the way they wanted to tell the Muslim community ‘look, we have a Muslim police officer’. “Then I could see that if I sat on an Underground train everyone looked at you and moved away. I could feel the fear.” The aim of the film was to address these issues. “I wanted to see the point of view of a shooter who had to pull the trigger and shot the wrong guy. You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Louise Jury, in Cannes, and Lucy Hanbury report.
Cradling his baby daughter in his arms, the ringleader of the July 7 suicide bombers says goodbye to her in an extraordinary family video. At one stage, an emotional Mohammed Sidique Khan appears to be preparing six- month- old Maryam for a future as a terrorist, urging her: “Learn to fight, fighting is good.” He added: “Be mummy’s best friend. Take care of mummy – you can both do things together like fighting and stuff.”