On Friday 15 March 2019, the world woke up to the news of terrorist attack by a white supremacist on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. 49 people were brutally murdered with the death toll later rising to 50. This was the biggest terrorist attack on Muslims in the West. Rampant Islamophobic rhetoric by politicians such as Donald Trump and the demonisation of Muslims in the media have contributed to such an attack on ordinary Muslims offering their Friday prayer.
Shock and grief has been felt by Muslims across the world especially in the West. I was touched by words of solidarity from my non-Muslim friends and colleagues. Along with activists from Haringey Stand Up to Racism, I organised a vigil outside Wightman Road Mosque at 6.15pm. Despite such short notice, the vigil was well attended by hundreds of people from Haringey’s diverse community.
The leader of Haringey Council, Cllr Joe Ejiofor underlined that Haringey is a multi-ethnic, multi-faith borough and that its people will never be divided. The Borough Commander, Helen Millichap reassured the local Muslim community that the police were doing everything to provide safety and security. Faith leaders from Grace Baptist Church, Muswell Hill Synagogue, Masjid Ayesha Tottenham and Wightman Road Mosque also spoke in a show of solidarity and unity. Messages from local MPs were read out.
I am proud to be a resident and a Councillor of Haringey, which has shown once again that it is a truly cosmopolitan borough that respects and values its diversity.