You’ve helped us to heal, say family of Finsbury Park terror victim
Children reveal how they’ve ‘learned to live with absence of a father’ after van attack
24 May, 2019 — By Emily Finch
Makram Ali’s children, from left, Ruman Ali, Onjona Akhtar, Ruzina Akhtar and Farhan Ali
THE children of Makram Ali still flinch whenever they hear a car accelerate.
Mr Ali, 51, was hit and killed by a van driven by a far-right terrorist as he made his way home from Muslim Welfare House, next to Finsbury Park station, after attending evening prayers two years ago this June.
His 27-year-old daughter Ruzina Akhtar spoke before the breaking of the Ramadan fast, known as Iftar, at Finsbury Park Mosque on Tuesday.
She told those present: “Two years after the tragic loss of my father, it is still most beautiful to continue to see that the community is able to get together to celebrate events like today.”
She told the Tribune that she had had “to learn to live with the absence of a father” and thanked the community for helping her family heal following the death.
“In the aftermath of my father dying there was an immense amount of people showing their love and giving us support from schools, churches, friends and family. All they wanted to do is show their love,” she said.
Ms Akhtar, a mother and shop worker, said her family had never experienced racism or far-right attacks in Islington until the day of her father’s murder.
“I’ve lived in Islington my whole life and never had a problem with racial hatred,” she said. “Now, racial hatred is always a worry, especially after the New Zealand shootings when Muslims were again attacked in a mosque.
“It’s worrying, what’s going to be happening in the world. You feel it’s not a safe space any more.
“But then again you’ve got all these events like today, different communities getting together. And that gives you more confidence that if we all work together we can make it a better place and outrun those terrorists and racists and far-right groups.”
Dominic Grieve and Jeremy Corbyn in St Thomas’s Road
Hundreds gathered for the meal, which saw Muslim worshippers and residents sit down along St Thomas’s Road for a feast which included curry and salad.
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn tucked into a vegetarian curry, sitting next to Conservative MP Dominic Grieve.
Addressing the crowd, he condemned those who tried to divide communities.
“I want our children to grow up in a world of diversity of wonder and of beauty, but if they grow up in a world dominated by discrimination and hate, then their lives will be less exciting, their lives will be less imaginative, and above all the collective problems we face cannot be solved,” he said.
He warned that “a world riven with division will not be able to deal with the huge issue that we all face of climate change and the damage we are doing to our natural world”.