Woolwich’s response,The community’s fears and challenges

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Internchange arrived at Charlton at around 7 pm at  the Charlton masjid which is literally 15 minutes away from John Wilson Street, where the scene took place last Wednesday 22nd May. There was tension within the Masjid, and worries could be seen in some faces. We overheard a conversation between two locals regarding the Woolwich affair. ” Its going to have a backlash on us”  was the first statement of our trip, which we gathered, in the most spoken area nationally at the moment.

images ( Greenwich Islamic centre)

After leaving the Masjid we started walking towards John Wilson street. The tension was building up as we were getting closer to the scene. On our away we met the first group of people in a corner shop on Woolwich road.  The engagement begins ” Hi , John Wilson street ? Do you know where it is ? ”

” do you want to get to the scene”

” Yeah, I’m from Internchange ,an Islamic Newsblog”

” Muslim ? ”

” Alhamduillah”

” Asalamu Aleykum”

“Wa aleykum  Asalam”

The conversation begins. Sebastian, a young man out of the group tells me his account on the incident. ” They make such fuss about it, this happens a lot around south east London. What has occurred is a tragic event , but is he more of a human because of his status as a solider? Or just simply because a Muslim killed him. I am not a Muslim myself, but our friend, Marcus Innocent, got killed last year not far away from the scene, we never had so much media presence and forensic left the same day, Our death means nothing”

This statement struck us, it was an encouragement  to carry on walking towards the scene.

woolwich-4003757 ( John Wilson Street, Woolwich)

Strangely enough we encountered another group of young men and women this time. The group consisted of White, Black and Asian people who were either Christians or Muslims.  We stopped them to enquire about their views on the incident, how the community was before and what they think the impact will be on the community. There were mixed feelings in a diverse group.

Neil, a White male out of the group says” I don’t have anything against Muslims, half of my friends are Muslim, but there some of them that take a the mick out of our country.  Malis think they are bad mans, they’re just some Somalis that think they can do whatever they want especially the younger ones. However we tend to stick together and it does not matter where you are from in woolwich.” The young man revealed later that he was referring to the gang violence with some ethnicities that used be far worse ten years ago. He also adds the incident that took place about a year ago in Mulgrave Road, where a young girl was believed to be killed. ” This is what happens around this area all the time.”

Another young man out of the group tells us that he fears that EDL is going to carry out attacks on innocent people in the community, which was understandable after EDL’s invasion on Wednesday 22nd May. Fears seem to find their ways into reality.

Tommy Robinson ( Hooded EDL leader Tommy Robinson)

A Muslim female going to college, today was stopped by two men from getting on a bus because of her appearance. She was wearing a niqab, the two men pulled her scarf and niqab off. The incident took place in Brownfield area at 339 bus stop.

The Internchange visit to Woolwich did not end there, the grand finale was the scene. Arriving at the scene we immediately noticed an almost laid back atmosphere. Only the flowers and the media presence indicated that something had happen. The people were getting on with their lives. This is supposed to be the biggest Terrorist attack since 07/07 bombings and this is the aftermath ?

The conversations with the locals were making more sense now, it was just another day in woolwich someone losing their life. However the media portrays a completely different picture. War, terror and fear. Conventional Media has a certain narrative that they abide by. Locals that ought to be affected by it, seem to see another problem. Neglected and left behind treated as statistics, and now all of sudden the area that will result to UK’s  new future.

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