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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid