A COMMUNITY activist who was caught up in the 7/7 bombings has revealed how the Manchester terror attack triggered terrifying memories of being trapped on a darkened train surrounded by injured commuters, with a prevailing thought that she was going to die.
Sajda Mughal told Eastern Eye the suicide bombing last Monday (22), which killed 22 people, sparked flashbacks of the day London was targetted in a series of coordinated terrorist attacks in July 2005.
When the news about Manchester broke, Mughal was in a conference in Austria about tackling extremism.
She said: “I watched the news live on TV and then started to hear accounts from victims who said they heard a loud bang, people screaming and frightened. This brought it all back to me when on 7/7, the bomb went off on the Piccadilly line after leaving Kings Cross.
“It was the loudest bang I’ve ever heard, the train shook, people were screaming, people were frightened and hurt and were trying to escape – but we couldn’t get out.
“I was frightened and I thought I was going to die. I had a noose around my heart which had been tightened. I felt the biggest sense of relief when we heard that voice coming through the carriages saying ‘It’s police, we’re coming to get you’.”
Mughal, who is the executive director of the Jan Trust, which helps the Muslim community prevent extremism and online radicalisation, said even though she survived the attack
almost 13 years ago, it is a moment she will never forget.
“How we lost 52 innocent lives. It was that experience that changed my life forever to work at the heart of communities to prevent and tackle extremism and my work, particularly my pioneering Web Guardians programme, which is at the forefront in working with mothers and
families to safeguard their children and loved ones from radicalisation and online extremism.”
Through her work, Mughal has seen mothers who have stopped their children joining extremist groups, and a mother travelled to Turkey to bring her son back to the UK.
Mughal, who was awarded an OBE ion 2015, believes at times like this, it is important for
communities to stand together. “Terrorists want to frighten and divide but we cannot let them win and they will not win,” she added.