July 11, 2020
From the Women Living Under Muslim Laws website
WLUML would like to share this first reaction from a Londoner
to the 7th July 2005 bombings which is currently being circulated
WLUML shares many of the concerns and analysis expressed in this
"As far as is known, friends and family are allwell. "But
we are now bracing ourselves for the aftermath: increased government
controls, pushing through of legislation that will further curtail
civil liberties (already the historic right to demonstrate outside
Parliament has been lost and legislation introduced that can be
used to curtail any form of political protest and opposition).
The resistance to the introduction of ID cards will now be weakened.
"There is also expected to be increased racism towards anyone
'foreign' (which of course will include brown and 'olive' people
born and brought up here). One eye-witness who just stepped off
the bus before it was blown up talks of an 'olive-skinned man'
who was 'agitated and kept looking in his bag'. The presumption
is that he was the bomber and not looking for his mobile that
was lost in the bottom of the bag...The
major news story this morning is the question: were these 'recently
arrived people' or 'sleeper cells' or 'home-grown radicalised'
people. The language used is pretty scary and doesn't bode well.
"Directly linked, we are bound to see increased pressure
from the fundamentalists, using these attacks and their possible
aftermath as a
justification, for the passage of the Labour Government's proposed
legislation creating the crime of 'religious hatred'. Secular
and progressive groups have been resisting its introduction arguing
that it will inevitably be used not mainly against racists but
alternative voices within religious communities and migrant communities.
Already there are some trying to make political capital out of
this: there have been false reports of attacks on 'Muslims' on
websites run by extreme Rightist Islamist groups.
"Interestingly, given features of attacks in Russia and
elsewhere, the reports only speak of 'finding these men' - not
one is considering the
possibility of women being responsible. I suppose it's a blessing
in a way because there were already enough attacks on veiled women
"And sadly, another effect will be the increased legitimacy
for the supposedly 'moderate Muslim' voices that pay lip service
to being against terrorism but have an unchanged fundamentalist,
fascist social agenda. Already such groups like the homophobic,
anti-semitic and highly patriarchal Muslim Council of Britain
are being given prominence. The Muslim Association of Britain
is even worse - it has remained totally silent on the mass rapes
in Darfur and yet its
first statement on the events in London is clearly designed to
create fear around the need to 'protect' the bodies of 'Muslim
President was reported in a statement as saying "particularly
women in headscarves, should be vigilant and avoid unnecessary
All the commentators on radio this morning apart from Police
and government officials were religious leaders - Christian and
Muslim. While official voices like the Archbishop of Canterbury
confirmed that he knew the attacks were abhorrent to Islam, the
very fact that he highlighted repeatedly the point that he had
been in touch with 'Muslim leaders' in a way does make it seem
that religion - rather than gross acts of violence - is the focal
issue after all. Muslims of course in particular or people from
a Muslim cultural background are being viewed only in terms of
their religious identity or presumed religious identity rather
than any other aspect of their identity. This will have long-term
"What is most frightening is not the threat of more horrors
- Londoners recall the IRA bombings and we have all known that
this brand of terrorism was going to happen one day (not 'if'
but 'when') - but the fact that it is already clear that the policy
response, both in terms of interior and foreign policy, will continue
to be highly illogical. It is mind-boggling how a government can
so efficiently work towards the absolute opposite of the national
and international situation that would prevent such attacks from
happening in future.
"For all of us this will mean more than ever before trying
to strengthen and protect progressive and secular voices, especially
within the UK and the European 'Muslim communities'. Already the
messages from some of the UK women's migrant groups focus entirely
on highlighting fears of increased attacks on 'Muslims'. It will
be much more difficult for such groups to now oppose the fundamentalist
leadership within the community."