FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday 6th July 2020
Issued by 7/7 Survivor and CEO Sajda Mughal OBE
7/7 London Bombings 15 Years later and 19 terrorist attacks – What has actually changed?
Tuesday 7th July marks the 15th anniversary of the 7/7 London bombings. The 7th of July 2005 was a day set to irreversibly change, the life of Sajda Mughal OBE. On that day, Mughal was making her way to work on the very same Piccadilly line train as Germaine Lindsay, who at 8.50am would detonate his bomb, taking 26 lives and shattering many more. As the events of that day unfolded Mughal was shocked to find out that these attacks had been carried out in the name of her religion – Islam. To her this was incomprehensible. Mughal left her career working in the city, and joined the women’s charity JAN Trust, with the aim of working with mothers and parents to prevent extremism and protect their loved ones and society.
As we near the 15th anniversary of the 7/7 London Bombings we are living in unprecedented times as a result of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a result of isolation necessary to protect public health, this crisis has pushed many online, and removed the usual support networks available to those at risk of online radicalisation. However, many extremist groups are using this opportunity to capitalise on this uncertainty and vulnerability, promoting fear and hatred. Over the past decade, through the Web Guardians™ programme Mughal has been working with women and communities across the UK to equip them with skills and knowledge to ensure they can prevent their children from being radicalised online, creating community resilience and effective counter narratives to the fear and hatred promoted online by extremists.
Since 7/7 we have witnessed nineteen terrorist attacks in which innocent people have had their lives taken, as well as effecting survivors, in ways unimaginable to most. A number of these attacks have been carried out by those either referred to or involved in the governments’ Prevent strategy, including the recent attack in Reading, this raises huge questions around the success of this programme. Mughal, through her Web Guardians™ programme seeks to ensure that we protect young people from online recruiters. Mughal says:
“As we move forward, 15 years on from 7/7, we can clearly see that the Prevent strategy has failed. We have had 19 terrorist attacks since 7/7 and lost more lives. Unfortunately, this does not surprise me as I’ve publically raised concerns in the past about the Prevent programme. I’ve worked with it previously and I know things need to desperately change ranging from the ineptitude of some projects funded under Prevent, the toxic culture amongst some Prevent civil servants and coordinators, through to a serious lack of transparency of the programme.
The Government needs to address these issues immediately otherwise I fear the cycle of violence will continue.”