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London’s burning!

August 9, 2011
written by Dilwar Hussain

Thoughts on the Summer riots as they were happening…

I’ve been trying to collect my thoughts on this, but just feel numb inside. I remember seeing the Brixton, Tottenham, and Handsworth riots on TV when I was a child and remember the devastation they caused.

I also remember the riots in the north of England in the 90′s and in 2001 where mainly Asian youths were concerned.

As part of my work on identity, I wrote about the riots in East London (the Battle of Cable Street) that involved Jewish, Communist and Irish youths – who made a stand against fascism.

I’m struggling to think whether these occurrences have any connection – in the past I have seen them as the second / third generation of migrant communities facing up to racism and claiming the streets – or whether the current riots are just about looting and getting the latest iPod or trainers? I hear different things. Mostly the latter…maybe its both?

Over 300 now arrested.

Today we heard of the Kurdish / Turkish groups defending shops from the looters – this could signal a new twist, with a new inter-community dimension…both problematic as well as positive.

We also heard of copycat looting in Birmingham and God alone knows how this will develop. There are reports of disturbances in Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol.

In London: Bethnal Green, Camden, Clapham Junction, Clapham, Croydon, Ealing, East Ham, Enfield, Hackney, Lewisham, Peckham and Woolwich seem to have been affected…maybe other parts too. That’s a spread across the whole of  London.

And we can’t forget the spark that lit the fire – the shooting.

These incidents show how far we have to go as a society to develop unity, civility, solidarity and of course – justice.

For once, Muslims are not at the eye of the storm…but I hope that we can be builders of peace and harmony. Somehow. Let us look for any opportunity to help calm things down, to ease any potential community tensions, and to be a positive force amidst this chaos that seems to be ensuing.

At the very least let us pray for our towns and cities and for our people (all people) within them.


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