“They did not represent this city 10 years ago and they do not represent it now.”
That was the message from community leaders as the country marked ten years since three bombers from Leeds took part in the worst ever terror attack on British soil.
Prominent members of the Beeston community joined civic dignitaries, faith leaders and police representatives as a short 7/7 memorial service was held at Leeds Civic Hall on Tuesday morning.
The invited guests heard from Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Judith Chapman, and council leader Judith Blake.
Hanif Malik, chief executive of the Hamara Healthy Living Centre in Beeston, also offered his reflections on the anniversary before a minute’s silence was held.
Of the four suicide bombers who killed 52 innocent people on the London transport network on July 7, 2005, three – Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and Hasib Hussain – came from Leeds.
The Lord Mayor said: “Three of the perpetrators came from Leeds, but they nothing of the values of this city – of tolerance, respect and democracy. They did not represent this city 10 years ago and they do not represent it now.”
Coun Blake said the massacre of 38 people, including 30 Britons, in Tunisia last month were a reminder of the “threat and the devastating impact of terrorism on innocent people”.
She said: “Today we in Leeds unite with the rest of the country against terrorism and violence and remember all of those affected by these events.
“We are clear that we will not allow such terrible acts of violence to divert us from our values of tolerance and understanding, values that very much form the basis of this city and its diverse communities.”
Mr Malik said the weeks after 7/7 were “the most surreal and traumatic in my professional working career”.
He added: “The actions of those individuals 10 years ago were not reflective of the community in Leeds and are not reflective of the wider Muslim community. Indeed, I think it’s an irony that, rather than divide, it brought us all together and made us even more resilient.
“Today Beeston and Leeds stand united with the nation in condemning the attacks of July 7, 2005. Ten years on from that atrocity we all vividly recall our shock, our horror, our dismay on discovering that Leeds was linked to those tragic events but we’re also able to recall the very dignified and united response from all sections of our community in ensuring that we remained resolute in not allowing the actions of the few to disrupt the cohesive nature of our home city.”