Has anything changed since four young men killed themselves and 52 others in London nine years ago?
Yes and No.
In one sense, 7/7 changed everything for the Muslim community in Britain: an increasing feeling of pressure, issues of identity, choices to be made. The overwhelming majority rejected violence and continued to grow as an integral part of British society. Numerous conferences and consultations explored the issues. Community relations have improved all round.
But in the last two years the Syrian conflict, and now the renewed conflict in Iraq, have resulted again in young men being radicalised and sucked into violence. The concern over Birmingham schools, and the current security alerts at airports, are all troubling reminders of deep divisions, hatred and fear.
“Friends, Strangers, Citizens? Life in Britain post 7/7” was a DVD study resource exploring the impact of 7/7 – the threat of terror, the role of religion, multiculturalism and the kind of society that we want to build.
The aim was to help people voice their opinions as well as hear the perspectives of others. It was widely used by schools and community groups.
It seems that we need to continue the same discussions today. Talking openly, rather than ignoring the issues, is a key step in promoting understanding and building bridges.
By Robin Thomson
Picture copyright – Gideon Creative Commons license