Terror attack survivor:
As Britain reels from yet another terror attack, Closer speaks to the only Muslim survivor of 7/7 about how we can all help prevent further atrocities…
“Mums are key to stopping these tragedies”
Last week, the UK L was shaken by its third terror attack in less than a month, as a far-right extremist ploughed into a crowd of Muslim worshippers outside a mosque in Finsbury Park, London.
The alleged perpetrator, Darren Osborne – a 47-year-old father of four from Cardiff – was heard shouting “kill all Muslims” and “this is for London Bridge” as he drove a rented van into a crowd at 1am on Monday – killing grandfather Makram Ali, 51, and leaving 10 injured. Last week, Osborne was charged with terrorism-related murder and attempted murder.
Since March, 36 people have been killed in terror attacks on Westminster Bridge, Manchester Arena, London Bridge and Borough Market.
But despite the heartbreak, Sajda Mughal – the only Muslim survivor of 7/7, the UK’S most deadly terror attack – says we can’t give in to hatred, and she now dedicates her life to preventing radicalisation in schools and communities.
The 34-year-old mum of two says: “I feel sick whenever I hear about yet another terror attack. To prevent more attacks, it’s essential we don’t let hate divide us. If we do, the terrorists win. It’s vital that mums educate their kids to prevent them becoming radicalised.”
Sajda was 22 when a bomb exploded on the tube during her commute to work on 7 July 2005. It was one of several explosions across London that left 52 people dead and more than 700 injured.
Sajda reveals: “I’ll never forget the blood and the screams. I was convinced I was going to die and couldn’t breathe. It was the loudest noise I’d ever heard and I lost my hearing for a few days. I was conscious but froze in shock – those 45 minutes felt like a lifetime. It was only when I heard a police officer say: ‘We’re coming to get you,’ that I dared believe I’d get out alive.
“I was lucky to survive but it will haunt me forever. I often scream in my sleep – especially around the anniversary.”
Sajda, who lives in London with her husband Ahmed and two children, says working for The JAN Trust – which helps prevent children from being radicalised – has helped heal the pain. She runs the Web Guardians program – a unique educational course for predominantly Muslim mothers on how to notice signs of extremism in their children, teaching them internet skills, and how to communicate with their children.
“Mums are key to stopping these tragedies by looking out for signs of radicalisation in their children,” says Sajda.
“Extremists on both sides want the divide to grow – ISIS used the Finsbury Park incident to recruit people, while far-right extremist groups celebrated the attack. We can tackle terrorism by uniting. At the vigil for the Finsbury Park attack, people of all nationalities came together. Whether your faith or gender – we can stop them together.”
❛I’ll never forget the screams – I was convinced we were all going to die❜
Sajda Mughal says we have to unite against terror