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Streatham Stands Together

On Sunday 8th of February, just 6 days after the dreadful attack in Streatham which hospitalised 3 people, the south London community came together to stand firm against any and all attempts to fracture the community ties in diverse Lambeth. Organised by local Lambeth residents and organisations, we heard from the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Streatham MP Bell Ribeiro-Addy.

Our members expressed their sadness in the immediate aftermath of the incident and shared their concerns about potential reprisals and said it would be useful to have a community response. This was taken up by Umar Mahmood. There was an array of contributions from the diverse, vibrant and neighbourly community illustrated by the coming together of people from all walks of life.

The main activity to show solidarity started off with a moment of silence, prayers and reflections being led by Streatham faith leaders from South London Islamic Centre, a local Synagogue, and some of the nearby churches. It was hosted by Director Umar Mahmood and Simi Solomon, a church coordinator. Following the prayers and reflections, which renewed hopes to maintain peace and love amongst the community, and called for justice in the society, working together to achieve the potential of a united Streatham community. The unified group of locals gathered to display harmony, unity, and put across their response to the attack on their community less than a week prior.

The Mayor expressed his sentiments by praising the attendees: “You set an example to other parts of our city, other parts of our country, and other parts of the world, because you are a beacon, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart… There are some people around the world who think diversity is a weakness, I think the opposite, I think diversity is a strength, and Streatham you have shown the world that.”

Umar Mahmood said: “Reaching out to the Muslim community has been very important to us. So many Muslims are based in Streatham and in Lambeth as a whole. When we were contacted with concerns, we listened to them and thought about how we can collaborate with other community allies to stand together and support residents. This was an amazing show of community solidarity.”

Speaking on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s support, Umar Mahmood said: “Sadiq has been a great supporter of our work, especially the activities promoting interfaith harmony. We’ve been leading or been part of interfaith work for the last 20 years, so Lambeth has a certain uniqueness about it. I want to also say we join hands together naturally in times of happiness as well as days like this where reflection is required.”

Other elements of the day included chalk drawings on the pavement outside the Odeon cinema where people from all backgrounds joined in. The organisers of this amazing day included Dr Hannah May-Miller, Canon Anna Norman-Walker, Zoie Kennedy, Xenia Davis, Claire Timmins and many others.


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