Our CEO Sajda Mughal has spoken out about her shock following the terrorist attack in New Zealand, and about her own suffering from far-right abuse after the 7/7 attacks which nearly took her life.
Read more here or read below.
I woke up to the news that people had been killed in New Zealand in the middle of Friday Prayers.
My initial reaction was, “What the hell has happened?”
But after working in anti-extremism since I was a victim of the 7/7 bombings, was I shocked?
It was a long time coming.
It’s been bubbling, waiting to happen.
Attacks have been increasing, whether it be on the street or on the bus, be it physical or verbal abuse.
I’ve had fellow Muslim women telling me they are scared to leave their house, or to send their kids to school because they are getting bullied for being Muslim.
Just two weeks ago we had a threat of arson on our women’s centre in Haringey, North London.
We were told we were “desert donkeys”, and to “go back to the desert”.
And since New Zealand, we’ve had messages from women saying they are scared to go to the mosque.
My two daughters go to a weekend faith school, and I had to double check the security.
We even had to issue advice on how people can go to the local shop safely.
You can imagine the fear I have.
And why? Because our government hasn’t taken a firm stance.
I have lobbied the Government for years to take far-right extremism seriously, like they have taken Daesh extremism seriously.
We have far-right groups out there radicalising young people, playing on their vulnerabilities.
We need to take down the social media accounts of hate preachers – we’ve done it on the other side of the fence.
I have been through it two-fold: I survived at the hands of extremists on 7/7 who claimed to be from my religion.
Then I’ve experienced far-right hate and death threats.
This is 2019 and we have hate groups from all angles that are growing and growing.
We all need to get on in society, we need to be more accepting of each other.
The mosque in Christchurch had their doors unlocked. They were unlocked for a reason – so you can reach out, and get to know the other, so to speak.
Otherwise if this continues, my fear isn’t just that there will be more far-right attacks but that they will fuel groups like Daesh, and it will become a vicious circle.
Then who suffers? All of us.