NOT IN OUR NAME! Not in our city! That was the collective slogan as a group of Muslims and non-Muslims from across London came together to participate in a silent rally at Whitechapel followed by a march to London Bridge. The events were held to oppose all forms of hate, extremism and in solidarity with the victims of terror attacks globally as well as domestically in London and Manchester.
Fasting Muslims in the holy month of Ramadan marched with and alongside people of other faiths and none and fellow Londoners to deliver a simple message:
London is our home.
Not in our name.
Not in our city.
The London Muslim Alliance had formed recently to encourage members of the general public to make a stand and show that the religion of Islam will not be allowed to be exploited by thugs and criminals to carry out atrocities in the name of the global Muslim public.
Joint Convenor Zakir Khan, Associate Director of the Canary Wharf Group, said, “Today we make a stand against a criminal minority who have laid claim to our beautiful religion and who have attacked our city.”
His fellow Convenor Naufal Zamir echoed what Khan had to say, “As Muslims, our faith teaches us that our neighbours must be safe from any harm. All Londoners are our neighbours and any harm that befalls any individual or group will harm in turn harm us all.”
Fokrul Hoque was one of the voluntary organising team that worked so painstakingly hard and meticulously planned the peaceful demonstration. He added, “We want to actively show our solidarity with our fellow Londoners and to oppose those who sow the seeds of hatred and division, whatever their background. London is one of the few places on our planet where there is so much diversity. It’s a beautiful place to live and work in and we will make a stand to keep it that way. London is our home.”
The group marched from Altab Ali Park in Whitechapel to London Bridge. As it is the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, the majority of participants were fasting. There was a small police presence to ensure the peace walk ran smoothly. There was no breach of the peace, and nor was there any opposition to the throngs of Muslims and non-Muslims marching in solidarity. In fact the walk sent out a powerful statement as hundreds of tourists, motorists and Saturday evening revellers respectfully acknowledged what was taking place.
Sabina Khatun joined the march with her family. She concluded, “London is the place where we live, study and work. We contribute so much to the economic wellbeing of our beautiful city. This is home to us and we need to raise our voices against anyone who tries to drive discord amongst our communities. I think we sent a strong message out today that terrorism of any kind will not be tolerated.”
The march, which included a minute’s silence at Aldgate station, was successful in reaching out to fellow Londoners in solidarity to help create a more positive impression of faith and community. Marchers returned to Whitechapel after a two minute silence at London Bridge. As the sun set over London, the throngs of citizens broke their fast in Altab Ali Park before joining the congregation at the East London Mosque for dusk prayers.
Attendees on the walk included Tower Hamlets Cabinet Member for Community Safety Councillor Asma Begum; Mesba Ahmed, CEO of London Tigers; former Tower Hamlets Councillor and member of the Metropolitan Police Authority Abdal Ullah; Mizanur Rahman and Shah Yousuf from LB24 TV, which covered the event live; Syeda and Sirajul Choudhury; Anfor Ali; former Councillor Dulal Miah and Salam Jones.
The London Muslim Alliance was set up by young Muslims from various backgrounds as a direct response to the London Bridge atrocities.