Dear Parents and Carers,
It is with great sadness that I write to you about the tragic events of the weekend; firstly the fatal stabbing of the 17-year-old boy Abdirahman Mohamed outside the Tesco Express on Southampton Way on Friday and secondly about Saturday night’s terrorist attack at London Bridge. These two events both happened in Southwark, our Borough, so are bound to affect us deeply. Abdirahman was a Camberwell boy and part of our community, so it is inevitable that people will have known him and know his family, which has been devastated by his death outside a shop that many of us use every day. It is also inevitable that people will know members of our community affected by the mindless violence shown at London Bridge on Saturday night, or been affected by it personally. There is no denying that we live in very uncertain times.
The motivation that links these two crimes together is the same: hate. In particular, hatred of difference. It would be easy to blame politicians, social media, the state of modern society or Muslims, but the cause of this motivation to harm people indiscriminately is far more complex. Hating in return achieves nothing.
An eye for an eye makes the whole World blind. We fight fire with water, not by adding fuel to it. In London, we are lucky to live in a city where people from all over the world are represented, and under UK law everybody should be respected and treated fairly. We are all Londoners, regardless of where our families originate, and we are all here to learn from each other and to live together peacefully. At Brunswick Park we love all our children equally, and value every member of our school’s community equally. Many of Brunswick’s children and families are Muslims. Islam condemns violence. Our Muslim children and families must not be victimised, marginalised or discriminated against because of the actions of a tiny number of radicalised people motivated not by religion but by hate. Harun Khan, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, issued the following statement yesterday after the terrorist incident:
I am appalled and angered by the terrorist attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market, in my home city. These acts of violence were truly shocking and I condemn them in the strongest terms.
Muslims everywhere are outraged and disgusted at these cowards who once again have destroyed the lives of our fellow Britons. That this should happen in this month of Ramadan, when many Muslims were praying and fasting only goes to show that these people respect neither life nor faith.
My prayers are with the victims and all those affected. I commend the work of our emergency services working hard to keep us safe and cope with the ensuing carnage. As ever we urge everyone to assist the authorities so that these criminals can be apprehended and brought to justice.
London’s Mayor, the Pakistani Muslim Sadiq Khan, issued this statement:
This was a deliberate and cowardly attack on innocent Londoners and visitors to our city enjoying their Saturday night. I condemn it in the strongest possible terms. There is no justification whatsoever for such barbaric acts.
These two community Leaders reflect our community’s views.
Schools are places where, as well as receiving an academic education, children learn to relate to each other positively and safely, becoming good citizens and effective members of society. They learn that, although some people have religious faith and some people do not, to be good citizens, everybody should be motivated by doing good to others, because doing good is morally right. Our school is dedicated to help everyone to learn to live together in a positive spirit. At Brunswick Park we will continue to be vigilant, support everybody in our community and condemn violence in all its forms. We will talk to the children sensitively and carefully about what has happened. We send our deepest condolences to Abdirahman’s family and to the families of those affected by the terrorist attack, and will respond to both by being ever more dignified, understanding and resilient. We will not let hatred win; the moment we do that, then all really is lost.