News / Europe

    London Marks 5th Anniversary of Terror Attacks

    On July 7 five years ago, suicide bombers attacked London's transport network, killing 52 people.  The Muslim bombers did not come from overseas, but were born and raised in Britain.  The attacks marked a turning point in how British society perceived the threat of terrorism.  The impact of the bombings would also prove to be a huge challenge for the country's large Muslim population.  

    At exactly 9:47 Wednesday morning, in London's leafy Tavistock Square, relatives and friends of the victims of the 7/7 bombings gathered to remember and reflect.  At a distance, passers-by stopped to watch and pay their respects.

    It was here that five years ago, Hasib Hussain detonated a bomb on the number 30 bus, killing 13 people and wounding dozens more.

    It was the final of a series of four explosions that day that ripped through London's transport system.  In total, 52 people were killed.

    Britain had long-feared a suicide attack by Islamic extremists, but unlike the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001,  the London bombers were not foreigners, but were born and raised in Britain.

    M.J. Gohel of the security research group the Asia-Pacific Foundation describes the impact 7/7 had on the British authorities.

    "It was never really expected that anyone born in the U.K. would turn against their own country, their own community; and it came as quite a major shock," Gohel said. "Here was a completely new kind of enemy and all those hurdles were there - race, religion, language, culture. They had to learn very quickly, and it meant that just sealing borders was no longer enough.  An entirely new strategy would be required."

    It was not only the security services that would have to turn their attention away from foreign dangers to delve deep into British society.  The Muslim community here has been thrust into the limelight like never before.

    Hadiya Masieh clearly remembers the hostile atmosphere after 7/7.  She was a student at the time; she now works for the Three Faiths Forum, campaigning against extremism at universities across the U.K.

    "I believe that there was a wake-up call within the Muslim community, the majority of them not realizing that there was a very small minority of people who felt aggrieved by foreign policy issues," she said.

    The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has paid tribute to the local authorities who he said 'worked hard to keep the capital moving and its communities united in grief, not in mutual hatred or suspicion.'  But five years on, race relations are still tense in parts of the U.K.  In recent years, far right political groups have made progress in local elections.

    And the government says the danger of another terrorist attack is high; earlier this year it raised the threat level to 'severe'.

    M.J. Gohel of the Asia Pacific Foundation says the security services have to keep adapting.

    "There have been a number of other plots, the London and Glasgow bombing, the ammonium nitrate plot, the transatlantic bomb plot," Gohel said. "The terrorists are always finding new ways of launching an attack, and therefore the security services have to try to stay one step ahead."

    London has moved on from 7/7.  The tangible fear that pervaded London's transport system after the attacks has passed.

    But the security services stress that the danger of another attack remains high, and that so-called homegrown terrorists, born and raised in Britain, are still plotting attacks on their own people.

    You May Like

    Pentagon: Afghan Hospital Bombing Not a War Crime

    US Central Command's Joseph Votel says probe found tragedy was result of 'extraordinarily intense situation' that included multiple equipment failures

    US Minorities Link Guns with Other Social Ills

    New study finds reduction in gun violence could help lower America’s incarceration rate – the world’s highest - and improve relationships between police, citizens in minority communities

    US Millennials Beat Baby Boomers as Largest Living Generation

    America's young people are about to take over and here's what we can expect from them

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora