By Mohd Zarith Md. Hanipah
The recent terror attack against innocent people, the third such attack in the United Kingdom (UK) in less than three months, has sparked an outcry from the Muslim community living in Britain.
The Muslims, including those from Malaysia residing in London who were still recovering from the Manchester attack on May 22, have expressed their shock and disbelief over the tragedy on Saturday night, which happened during the fasting month of Ramadhan.
Many from London’s Muslim community I spoke to in the aftermath were also furious over the attacks that left seven people dead and 48 injured as it would only tarnish the image of Islam even more.
One of the imam from our congregation pointed out that the mosques in London and Manchester refused to bury or perform the solat jenazah (prayer for the deceased) for the terrorists as killing innocent people were totally against the teachings of Islam.
A Malaysian PhD student Tini Yahya of University College London was clearly disgusted with the audacity of the attackers in killing innocent people, which is absolutely forbidden in Islam.
In condemning the bloody attacks and remembering the dead, on Monday the Muslim community in London including from Malaysia held a vigil near the London Bridge where the attack started. In the incident, a van plowed into pedestrians before three attackers then proceeded to the Borough Market area where they got out of the van and attacked bystanders and pub-goers with knives. All three were then shot dead by police.
However, we must find the root cause of these extremism and we should not be biased with our condemnation. The recent bombing by US-led coalition in Iraq which killed 484 civilians, the suicide bombing in Kabul which killed hundreds and the killing of Coptic Christians in Egypt are just as horrible and wrong.
We must end all kinds of terrorism whether state-sponsored or IS because at the end of the day the innocent ones are those who suffer and this vicious terror cycle will continue.
Hence, it was apt that Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was among the earliest to condemn the heinous act and said that “we will stand with the people of Britain”.
The Malaysian Foreign Ministry also conveyed deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims of the incident. Meanwhile, the Malaysian High Commission in London is in close contact with the local authorities and providing updates to the Malaysian community here.
So far there have been no reports of Malaysians involved in the terror incidents, either as the perpetrators or the victims though three Malaysian students have been questioned by police regarding the perpetrator of the Manchester attack. Malaysians residing within the affected areas are advised to remain vigilant and follow the instructions of local authorities.
The Malaysian High Commission also reminded Malaysians to contact the high commission in the event of any emergency or further information.
The unfortunate episode also highlighted the readiness of Britons to extend a helping hand in times of need. People in London and Manchester have been donating large sums of money for the victims, taxi drivers offering free rides and people opening their homes for refuge as per when the attacks unfolded.
Having said that, it has been a challenging period for the people in Britain. On 22 March 2017, a terrorist attack took place near Westminster in London when a radicalised Briton ploughed his car through pedestrians on the pavement of Westminster Bridge killing four people before stabbing fatally an unarmed police officer.
On May 22, a lone suicide bomber blew himself up at the Manchester Arena foyer after the Ariana Grande concert killing 22 people and injuring not less than 60 people. – Bernama