Sunday, July 22, 2018
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Building in flame: what should we learn from this tragedy

By Abubakar N. Kasim

The entire building that went in flame in a modern city like London is indeed troubling. I have never imagined in today’s age and time UK still treats its minorities as subhumans and second class citizens. The government’s handling of the tragedy right from the beginning has been disastrous and shameful. Even if the fire had struck the forest the government would have dispatched its special helicopters and sent its latest equipment and would have done more to combat the fire.

It is just sad, really sad how awful those people were treated. They were abandoned and neglected as if they were not humans worth saving. Even the Prime Minister didn’t make an effort to show compassion and meet the victims in person. This horrific tragedy will put a stain to the image and reputation of the United Kingdom.

Smoke billows as firefighters deal with a serious fire in a tower block at Latimer Road in West London, Britain June 14, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The government’s total neglect and abandonment of those people who didn’t look British enough reminds me of the blacks and minorities in the South African’s apartheid system and in the dark days of US’s slavery era where humans who happen to look different were treated worse than animals.Those responsible should be held accountable and persecuted with the crimes against humanity.

Muslims living in the west ought to take heed to this tragedy where the entire building was left to burn with everyone inside. The majority of the social housing were Muslims.

As the news report indicate, people has repeatedly raised safety concerns but no one bothered to listen to the second class citizens. The government has now opened a criminal investigation as the families are furious over the government’s handling of this calamity.

Imams and community leaders should draw lessons out of this awful tragedy to raise awareness in the community about standing up for the rights of the vulnerable amongst us. When we see injustice anywhere, we should speak up and contact MP and other figures of authorities and never keep silent as remaining silent makes a person complacent to the crime.

While working at the airport as a ticketing agent I have come across many people facing discrimination and racial profiling. But sadly they don’t bother to complaint. I couldn’t believe witnessing a Muslim praying at the corner and having an airline employee admonishing him for praying in public. “You should pray inside the toilet,” she told him “there is enough room there.”

As  anti Islam sentiment is growing rapidly, what the tenant of the building that went in flame had experienced will likely happen to again. The rise of right wing politicians is contributing to the hate turning into heat against the community.

It is incumbent upon us to stand together with other communities who always stand with us to say no to injustices whether during the  travel ban in the US. We ought to develop a mechanism to protect ourselves, safeguard our rights  as people before us who  went similar  ordeal did in the face of ugliness and persecution until they overcame such hardship and turned things around.

Abubakar N. Kasim
Toronto, Ontario


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