May Hussain narrowly missed yesterday’s terror attack in Westminster. She recounts her ordeal but refuses to condemn or apologise for an incident which she had nothing to do with.
Working across a number of schools as a consultant, I happened to be in Westminster on the day of the terror attack.
I had a number of meetings as I usually do and had a few phone calls in the day from friends just saying hello. However, one in particular knew where I was and messaged me at exactly 3:00pm: “Babe there’s shooting going on at Parliament avoid that area.” I thought to myself: “But I was just on the phone to you 30 minutes ago when I went to get a coffee across Parliament Square?”
I immediately googled “Parliament shooting” and there it was in bright red – “TERRORIST ATTACK.” My first instincts were: “here we go again.”
I called reception to inform them because students would be leaving for the end of the school day within the hour. They were aware and I could hear the strain in their voice. So I decided it would be best to leave and head back before things got ugly and the commute got insane with Westminster station being closed.
As I went down the elevator, I thought for a minute that I wasn’t remotely fearful or anxious about stepping out of the doors of the academy even though it is two minutes from Westminster. The dreaded feeling I had actually was about the ramifications and backlash Muslims were going to receive in London.
As I headed into reception, I encountered first-hand what it looks like to see people in a panic. Colleagues were on the phone to head office, and reception and admin were constantly answering calls from parents concerned about the safety of their children.
As I drew closer to the doors to exit, the doors wouldn’t open. The premises manager approached me and said they had locked the academy due to safety concerns. I told him I was aware of what was going on and decided to head back before the tube got insane.
He let me out and escorted me to St James Park station, which was only a few minutes away. There was an eerie atmosphere and people were still running and I saw a few people crying. Police cars and armed officers were zooming towards the direction of Parliament. I could see the strain on the face of the premises manager but I almost didn’t want to ask him if he was ok because I knew what he was thinking. I thanked him for walking me to the station and we said our goodbyes.
There wasn’t much of a sombre mood on the District line however and by the time I reached Monument station and had signal on my phone I could see already the hashtag “banMuslims.” It hadn’t even been an HOUR since it happened.
With fear of sounding as if I’m not sorry for the loss of the lives of the innocents, I’m so bored of the whole “Muslims are terrorists,” “Ban Islam,” “Creeping Sharia” thing. I am so damn over it.
I’m not going to justify their actions (foreign policy does come to mind but I won’t digress) I’m not going to apologise, I’m not going to quote hadiths from the Prophet about the loss of the life of an innocent, and I’m not going to harp on about why I should feel like I’m not to blame.
For just over a year, I have been back and forth from Europe supporting charities and providing aid to refugees from Syria. Dunkirk, Calais, Idomeni, Macedonia, Thessoloniki and Athens. I’ve encountered endless refugees who have had their homes obliterated, friends and family drown in front of their very eyes escaping war, witnessed loved ones losing their limbs and and who have ran from cluster bombs that have been dropped; but Muslims in the UK have to explain, justify and apologise for one loon who’s decided to go on a rampage?
Why do we as Muslims have to explain our frustrations and anger when isolated terror attacks like this happen? Britain has been under so-called “high alert” since 2014. Therefore, this is exactly what it is – an ISOLATED incident.
Britain is now the second largest arms dealer in the world but since these deals are done by men in suits and these transactions occur around fancy tables dripping in expensive wine, that apparently makes it different to what happened at Parliament. I disagree, I think it is far more sinister.
So before you go on about the hot topic of the Parliament terror attack, spare a thought for the countless innocents who die on a daily basis at the hands of our government and its arms deals.
My thoughts and prayers go out to those that lost their lives and their families. I am thankful for the response of the emergency services and medical staff at St Thomas’s hospital for their commitment to saving lives. However, I am far more grateful that I do not have a cluster bomb exploding over my house that the precious United Kingdom has sold.