Muslim Women Performed An Act Of Solidarity On London's Westminster Bridge

In the wake of London's terrorist attack, a group of Muslim women decided to do something special.

A group of Muslim women gathered at the site of last week's terrorist attack in London to show solidarity. 

As the Big Ben tower chimed, the women stood on the Westminster Bridge holding hands with other members of the community for five minutes. It was on that same bridge that Khalid Masood drove his car into a crowd of people last week. Four people were killed — including a police officer — and at least another twenty were injured. 

The event, organized by the people behind the Women's March on London, drew all kinds of people. But it became front page news when the large contingent of Muslim women decided to show up.

The gesture even made the front page of The Guardian.

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Women who attended the event described overwhelming emotions at being there, and many spoke with the press about why they thought it was important to make this statement.

 "When an attack happens in London, it is an attack on me," Sarah Waseem told the London-based newspaper The Independent. "It is an attack on all of us. Islam totally condemns violence of any sort. This is abhorrent to us."

Imraan Siddiqi, the Executive Director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said it was a "powerful message" that he hoped push back on the narratives around Islam.

"One of the primary principles that Muslims go by is 'stand firmly against injustice, even if it's against yourselves' — even though the perpetrator was a violent individual who didn't embody the principles of Islam, his name alone acts as a sort of guilt-by-association by many who choose to manipulate these events to further their cause," Siddiqi said. 

Siddiqi, who started the popular #NoBanNoWall hashtag, thought this was relevant to a larger, global conversation.

"Across Europe and as evidenced by the rise of Trump in the U.S., there definitely exists a warring narrative on what Muslims and Islam represent," Siddiqi said. "So, in this way, statements like this are powerful and important, as Muslims refuse to be defined by anyone else."

The women wore the color blue as a sign of hope, but they also made a decision that caught a few people's eyes: they were almost all wearing traditional headscarves. Siddiqi noted that this was a significant choice.

"It also takes boldness to come out with many dressed in the traditional headscarf in the aftermath of such a horrific attack and take a public stance like this," he said. "So, in these situations, I think it should be received positively."

Cover photo: Shutterstock / Elena Rostunova

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