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SEPTEMBER 2011 3

THREE PRECIOUS SOULS

A catalyst for unity and strength O

VER 20,000 PEOPLE showed the rest of England, in particular, Britain, in general, that even at its tragic low, Birmingham's multicultural city will always pull together as one. When the open-air prayer service took place in the city's Summerfield Park, held for the funerals of Haroon Jahan and brothers Abdul Musavir and Shazad Ali, the message for the onlooking media loud and clear; This wasn't the result of a race-war, as had been mentioned in some quarters. This was the tragic result of 3 men protecting what's rightfully theirs, becoming victims of a night that shouldn't have happened at all. Instead of splitting communities apart, it brought them together, to unite as one and fight the common causes that brought the deaths of three innocent young men. In Summerfield Park, an estimated 25,000 people, from Birmingham and beyond, were together in solidarity to show that the deaths were

never to be in vein. As Muslims and non-Muslims, of all races, stood sideby-side, on what was a mild, blustery day, it was when special guest speaker, Muslim scholar, Shaykh Muhammed al-Yaqoubi stood up and after quoting, in Arabic, from the Qu'ran, he said: "These three men are martyrs. What we can do for them is pray for them, for ourselves and our community." Then, as the bodies of the young men were driven into the park, then sun broke through the clouds, as if they were sealing their approval on the way forward, for people of Winson Green and Birmingham. We all, as human beings, whether we are the media, politicians, business people, community leaders, or individual men, women and children, we have to all tag it upon ourselves to make sure that this, for whatever reason, does not happen ever again, for all our sakes, for the sakes of Haroon Jahan, Abdul Muavir and Shazad Ali.

THE HUMAN COSTS OF

BIRMINGHAM’S DAYS OF SHAME T

HE DEATH, IN London, Mark Duggan, marked a low in the already tetchy relationship Britain’s inner-city communities and the police, but, despite that, the dignified way in which the deceased’s family and friends questioned what exactly took place was commendable, at the very least. In Birmingham, three young men were killed by ruthless killers, whilst protecting their property, in the city’s Winson Green and, again, a dignified manner was showed, this time by one the two grieving fathers. It was with immense dignity that Tariq Jahan, whose 21-year-old son, Haroon Jahan, was mown down and killed in an apparently racist murder, appealed for calm from all the community. The wanton destruction of

property and businesses, indeed, of people’s livelihoods, left many questions to be answered, by many people and relevant agencies alike. Parents and significant guardians, uncles and aunties, grannies and granddads, brothers, sisters and cousins, are you asking yourselves; ‘What role did I play in the riots?’ In Birmingham, it was perceived that the protagonists in the disturbances were no older than 21. So, why weren’t they at there local community centre, youth club, or sports centre? What on earth have they been taught at school, if they were ever really encouraged to go to school? They’re just some of the litany of questions asked by many on-looking commentators throwing their ‘penneth’ worth into a well-worn debate. Of course, on the face of it,

the rioters were ostensively opportunists, with their beady eyes on any ‘prize,’ with no thought of: Who? What? Where? When? And; Why? However, there were many who were acutely aware and, subsequently, victims of the Government cuts which affect them, first of all. With state education seen as no more than a lottery, today and higher education fast becoming a privilege for the privileged, questions have to be asked at every level, to have a chance of finding any sort of solution to overcoming the primitive, anarchic behavior of our 21st Century youths. The material cost, to the nation’s economy, is hugely expensive. The human cost, to our communities, is priceless. If only enough of us, Government, family and everyone in between, were fully mindful of that fact.

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