On Sunday, Muslim women joined hands on the Westminster Bridge to condemn last week's terror attack in London, show solidarity, and pay tribute to the victims. Although people from all backgrounds joined the event, organized by the Women's March in London, the many Muslim women and their daughters present stood out the most. Some of the women shared their thoughts:
“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.” --Sarah Waseem
“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.” --Ayesha Malik
“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.” --Fariha KhanElsewhere in London, Ibrahim Dogus, a Muslim-born businessman, fed hundreds of emergency service workers for free. When police ordered Dogus to evacuate and close his three restaurants after the attack, he asked permission to keep one of his restaurants open near the Westminster Bridge so police officers had a place to eat and keep warm.
“I went to one of the officers and said 'I can shut all the businesses, but I want you guys and all the emergency staff to use this place for food, drinks, and for warmth for free',” he told The Independent.
Dogus kept the restaurant open into the evening “until the last officer was fed." He fed between 300 and 500 emergency workers from the police, London Ambulance Service, and London Fire Brigade.
“We wanted to play our role in terms of supporting the emergency crew. This was happening right at our doorstep. If you walk two seconds on my doorstep I would be on the bridge. I use the bridge to take my kids to school, not on that day, but I live next to the area, I work next to the area.”A Muslim-led fund to support victims and families has raised more than £25,000 in a few days. I've been touched to read the way Muslims, Jews, and Christians have come together in recent months to show interfaith support for each other, especially in light of the travel bans and xenophobia.
Read more of my "I Was a Stranger" entries here.