Barking Muslim leader condemns Woolwich attack as “horrific” and extends sympathies to family

Raja Bashir President of the Barking Muslim Social and Cultural Society

Raja Bashir President of the Barking Muslim Social and Cultural Society - Credit: Archant

A Muslim community leader has joined in condemning the “horrific” Woolwich murder, believed to have been carried out by Islamic fundamentalists.

Raja Bashir, President of Barking Muslim Social and Cultural Society, said he “couldn’t sleep last night” after hearing of the attack on a soldier by two men in John Wilson Street, Woolwich, south east London yesterday.

The two men, who allegedly ran their victim over in a car before going at him with bladed weapons, were shot and arrested by police following the incident.

“First of all I would say this was a horrific murder and I am appalled about it,” said Raja.

“I’m sick of it honestly, I have never seen such a horrible incident as this in my life — I can’t imagine a man can do this to another man.”

The Barking Muslim Social and Cultural Society works out of the Barking Muslim Community Centre in Tanner Street and delivers programmes about community cohesion and harmony.

Raja said he felt there is “a little bit of tension in the area” but stressed he was not worried about any backlash following the attack, despite the historically strong presence of right-wing parties in the area and confrontations in Woolwich between far right group the English Defence League (EDL) and the police last night.

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“I have been living in Barking and Dagenham for the last 40 years and I have never preached to anybody to do bad things,” he said.

“Muslim, Hindu, Christian, whatever, we are human beings and we should treat others as human beings.

“I’m very sorry for the family of the dead man and my sympathy goes to them.”