Toronto - Four days after Khalid Masood drove his rented SUV through crowds of pedestrians making their way across Westminster Bridge, ultimately killing 4 and injuring dozens more, a group of determined Muslim women joined participants on the bridge in a show of solidarity.
Toronto – Four days after Khalid Masood drove his rented SUV through crowds of pedestrians making their way across Westminster Bridge, ultimately killing 4 and injuring dozens more, a group of determined Muslim women joined participants on the bridge in a show of solidarity.
It was a bright Sunday afternoon when 34-year-old Ayesha Malik decided to take her place on Westminster Bridge in support of the victims of last week’s terror attack. “As a visible Muslim, I think it was important to show solidarity with the principles we all hold dear, the principles of plurality, diversity and so on.”
According to a report on BBC News, the event was organized by the Women’s March on London.Participants lined Westminster Bridge, linking arms to form a human chain. As big Ben struck 4 p.m., five minutes of silence were observed to show respect for the victims and their families.
40-year-old professional, Fariha Khan, spoke to Metro on Sunday about the impact of standing in the place where such unnecessary tragedy took place. “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.”
Most of the Muslim women who attended opted to wear blue, the colour of peace. It made for a visibly moving tribute to the lives lost and forever changed by the violence of one individual.
According to the same source, Sarah Waseem, a 57-year-old Muslim woman from Surrey, attended the event to support the viewpoint that Islam does not condone or encourage violence in any form. “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.”
Many of the Muslim women who showed up, some accompanied by their daughters, decided to participate following a social media backlash which occurred against an hijab-wearing woman whose photo was posted online in the midst of the attack. The woman was criticized for appearing to walk calmly past a group of people tending to an injured pedestrian.
The unidentified woman took to the media herself on Friday to explain the context of the photo and what her reality had been in that moment. In her statement she said, “Not only have I been devastated by witnessing the aftermath of a shocking and numbing terror attack, I’ve also had to deal with the shock of finding my picture plastered all over social media by those who could not look beyond my attire, who drew conclusions based on hate and xenophobia.”
The young woman expressed sympathy for the victims and their families, explaining that the image didn’t show the complete picture of her experience that terrible day. For example, she said, it didn’t show that she had stopped to offer help and try to determine what had happened. “My thoughts go out to all the victims and their families.”
People from all walks of life, all backgrounds and every description, took part in Sunday’s Westminster Bridge memorial march. Most described it as a small, proactive gesture to show support in the face of hate and intolerance. As Londoner Mary Bennett put it, “This is my city. It’s a very small gesture but life is made up of small gestures.”