The Muslim Association of Britain today remembers all those impacted by the Grenfell Tower tragedy a year ago and sends its heartfelt condolences to the families of all those affected; those who lost loved ones, the residents who continue to live with the trauma and the forgotten citizens of London’s underbelly.
A year has passed since the fateful night that saw 72 lose their lives in the capital’s richest boroughs, yet unfortunately, not much has been done to reassure people that those responsible will be held to account. While some of the survivors have been rehoused, there are many others with their lives still on hold, either in temporary or emergency housing. The government’s drawn-out response to ensuring the Grenfell community finds closure echoes a painful reminder of the initial slow response of the early days after the tragedy.
It is saddening that a preventable tragedy like Grenfell happened, more so that the complaints and warnings raised repeatedly by its residents were wilfully ignored. Yet the story of Grenfell does not end there. There are hundreds of high rise buildings in the UK – including hospitals and schools – that use similar cladding, and it is a well-known fact that shortcuts and cutting corners to reduce costs and increase profits happen all the time at the expense of those less-privileged.
The story of Grenfell is one of institutional discrimination, of classism and marginalisation, and reveals a darker side to our country. London’s wealthiest sit metres away, while a marginalised community scrambles to make do in a system that fails to inspire trust.
Noor Elterk of MAB Youth who was at the centre of the aid operation in the aftermath of the fire stated today: “It’s heart-breaking that many of the residents questioned if the authorities response would have differed if the fire took place in the wealthier part of the borough. While we are grateful to the firefighters, local forces, volunteers and everyone who came together to do their utmost, and I truly believe that they went over and beyond in the line of duty, we must ask ourselves what is it that has allowed such a belief – that they would be willingly sacrificed by a government that sets store so little by them – to persist.”
MAB invites the local council to engage more with the Grenfell community and see their pledge of housing to be fully delivered, and calls upon the government to ensure that swift action is taken to safeguard against such a tragedy ever happening again.
We hope the inquiry launched will offer some closure to those impacted and prove a start to implementation of real change.
MAB remains committed to serving our community and wider society, and to encouraging local councillors to look to areas of deprivation suffering an array of social problems, and to work with us and other community and grassroots organisations to better find solutions that will tackle problems at their root.
Muslim Association of Britain
14th June 2018