by REENA KUMAR
EVERY year, the anniversary of the 2005 London bombings brings back vivid flashbacks for Sajda Mughal.
It was the day she found herself trapped on a blackened tube filled with smoke in King’s Cross station, surrounded by injured and hysterical commuters after Germaine Lindsay detonated his bomb.
Mughal survived the terrorist attacks which claimed the lives of 52 and injured over 750 as four suicide bombers detonated three bombs across the city.
Mughal was so horrified to discover that the men behind the brutal act were Muslims, a faith she had been raised into, that she made it her mission to dedicate her life to tackling radicalisation.
She quit her job in the city and began to work with Muslim mothers to try and prevent their children from falling victim to online extremism.
Speaking to Eastern Eye, Mughal said she marked the 12 year anniversary of the
atrocity last Friday (7) with quiet reflection and spending time with her family.
“It gets harder each time. Over the years, things have gone quiet on the anniversary and that’s hard having seen people killed and injured; we shouldn’t forget them,” Mughal said.
For the mother of two young daughters, this year has been particularly difficult with the succession of terrorist attacks in the British capital and Manchester Arena.
Mughal said: “As soon as the news would break of those attacks, it would take me straight back to 7/7; it made me re-live what happened that day.
“I was working in the private sector. I made the massive decision to leave what I was doing to want to make a difference and work at grassroots level with mothers. I dedicated my life to prevent and tackle online extremism.
“It changed my life, I survived but I’ve also been the target of death threats and the office has been vandalised. It makes me more determined to tackle this issue.”
Over the years, Mughal has helped hundreds of mothers, teaching them internet skills and educating them to spot signs of their children being lured into the evil clutches of extremists.
However, one of the major challenges she faces at the Jan Trust today, where she runs her Web Guardians project, is a lack of funding.
“If someone had been watching out for the signs of Germaine Lindsay’s radicalisation,
we might have been able to prevent what happened on 7/7. We might have been able to save the lives of those who died,” Mughal added.
“What is important is the need for my work and the Web Guardians programme to continue in order to prevent online radicalisation and save lives.
“Sustained funding would enable us to reach as many mothers, children and communities as possible. Without it, we run the risk of more individuals, particularly young people, being brainwashed online, and then I dread to think what could happen. This is an issue that affects us all, these are indiscriminate attacks.”
Another challenge facing Muslims is the fear of being targeted by far-right extremists, according to Mughal, who has had to have police protection because of the work she carries out.
Last month Darren Osborne was charged with murdering Makram Ali and attempting to murder several others when he allegedly drove a rented lorry into a crowd of Muslims leaving a mosque in north London. He is due to appear at the Old Bailey later this month.