London: A group of British Muslims handed out 3,000 roses to passersby and tourists at the London Bridge as a gesture of love, days after an attack at the iconic British site by Islamists claimed eight lives. “After the events of last weekend we are making a symbolic gesture of love for the communities affected by the attack,” said Zakia Bassou, one of the organisers of the event.
“The whole concept is we are not going to let London Bridge, or any bridge, fall down,” she was quoted as saying by the Press Association. Londoner Elida Ercolano was visibly emotional after receiving her rose. “I think it’s lovely, it’s what London is actually about as a city,” she said.
“It’s what people should remember despite what’s gone on. It’s a great symbol and if nothing else it’s bringing people together,” Ercolano said. “It’s very easy to believe the fear but boil it down and we are actually, in the main, good people and we should remember that,” she added. June Collis, from Gillingham, Dorset, said it was “beautiful and lovely to see the Muslim group come out and share their love against all the horrible things that have happened”. “Muslims need to speak up and go against the extremists,” she was quoted as saying.
The gesture came just days after a suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester claimed 22 lives and an attack at the London Bridge by three terrorists, who drove a van into pedestrians and then went on a stabbing spree, killed eight persons. Muslim groups across the country have condemned the horrific terror attacks.
Over 130 imams and Muslim religious leaders in the UK last week refused to perform the traditional Islamic funeral prayer for the London Bridge attackers, saying their “indefensible actions” were completely at odds with the teachings of Islam. The gesture of distributing flowers evoked a warm response from Londoners with David Hackett, visiting the capital from Durham, saying he found the event “very touching”.
“It’s great to see people giving such a beautiful thing to demonstrate the love people have for each other,” he said. Nancy Cannata, from Massachusetts in the US, said, “It’s very nice to see. And I think it’s nice that they’re Muslims. It’s not everybody in the Muslim community carrying out these attacks. There are good and bad people in every religion, and I wish people could realise that.”