Last week London was once again the target of a terrorist attack. A British born man, Khalid Masood, who had converted to Islam launched the attack in the heart of London.
He initially drove a car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, before crashing his car and running towards the British Parliament. There he assaulted, stabbed and killed a Police Officer. Armed security services quickly bought the incident to an end by shooting the terrorist.
Three members of the public died on Westminster Bridge and many were injured.
A terrible incident of this nature usually brings a backlash of hate against Muslims, in many forms of Islamophobia. Usually hijab or headscarf wearing girls and women are the most vulnerable, visible targets.
However yesterday as Big Ben chimed at 4pm, a group of hijab wearing Muslim women took part in a 5 minute silent vigil. Together with other women they all held hands while standing the full length of Westminster Bridge, the exact site of the attack.
Many of them wore blue, to signify peace and hope. Their thoughts and prayers were with the victims, injured and the families of those affected by the previous week’s events.
The photos of the event which have been shared widely, give a powerful message to show that we all stand together against fear, hate and terrorism.
The terrorist acts which want to divide us, will make our communities stronger.
Women from all faiths and backgrounds came together for this event, to show solidarity during a difficult week for London. It is these gestures of support and goodwill that give us hope for a brighter future.
Some of the Muslim women attending the vigil said:
‘The feeling of what happened here on Wednesday was really strong. We thought of the ordinary people who were here and were mown down, standing here like this, it was very overwhelming.’
‘When an attack happens in London, it is an attack on me. It is an attack on all of us. Islam totally condemns violence of any sort. This is abhorrent to us.’
‘As a visible Muslim I think it was important to show solidarity with the principles that we all hold dear, the principles of plurality, diversity and so on.’