In the wake of last week’s London terror attack, Muslim women have gathered on Westminster Bridge in solidarity...
Words by Kay Field
Dozens of women gathered along Westminster Bridge on Sunday, forming human chains across the places where three people were killed and many more were injured after being hit by terrorist Khalid Masood as he sped along the bridge, mowing into pedestrians.
Many people at the event, organised by Women’s March, explained that they wanted to stand defiant in the face of terrorism and spoke of the ‘overwhelming’ emotions they felt standing at the location of the attack. Afriha Khan said ‘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.’
Being present for the demonstration shows people in the city are united in support of democracy, said Ayesha Malik.
‘As a visible Muslim I think it was important to show solidarity with the principles that we hold dear, the principles of plurality, diversity and so on’, Malik continued.
‘When an attack happens in London, it is an attack on me. It is an attack on all of us’, explained Sarah Waseem. ‘Islam totally condemns violence of any sort. This is abhorrent to us’.
The women, some joined by their daughters, stood for five minutes along the bridge overlooking London’s iconic Houses of Parliament as Big Ben chimed 4pm, paying tribute to Wednesday’s victims and wearing blue as a symbol of hope.
Explaining her reasons for joining the demonstration, partaker Mary Bennett explained, ‘I am here to show that in a quite way we continue to go where we like and do what we like’.
‘This is my city. It’s a very small gesture but life is made up of small gestures’.