Mothers are key influencers within their home: Sajida Mughal

London: A Muslim survivor of the 7/7 London bombings, Sajida Mughal received OBE for her services to community cohesion and inter-faith dialogue. She was a 22-year-old City high flier who was lucky to escape serious injury in the July 2005 bombings.

The mother-of-two, from Wood Green, north London, received her award from the Prince of Wales in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. She was on her way to work when 19-year-old Germaine Lindsay detonated his bomb on a Piccadilly line Tube train between King’s Cross and Russell Square.

After receiving the award she said: “Having gone through 7/7 myself, I do not want (to see) another 7/7. My work is to try and prevent such an attack. I would not wish what I experienced that day, the trauma, and what I have seen to happen to another person. “Luckily I was not physically hurt. Had I got on to that first carriage I probably would not be sat here today, because the bomb was on the first carriage. It was only because I was running late”.

Deeply affected by the terror blasts at the hands of fellow Muslims and the rise of Islamophobia, Mrs Mughal quit her job as head of recruitment at an investment bank to work closely with her community. She works with women, largely from ethnic minorities, to help them integrate into society, but also to combat online extremism.

No one has heard from the three east London schoolgirls – Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, both 15, and 16-year-old Kadiza Sultana – more than a week after they left Gatwick Airport.

After collecting her OBE for services to community cohesion and inter-faith dialogue, she said: “Hearing that these young vulnerable girls have gone half-way around the world is saddening and traumatic. My thoughts go out to the family. These are vulnerable girls who have been manipulated with an ideology.”

Mrs Mughal is the daughter of Ugandan-Asian parents who escaped Idi Amin. She has been a Londoner since she was a year old. Helping to tackle online extremism is a way for people to “safeguard their children and to ultimately safeguard society”, she added.

Sajida Mughal has seen first hand the impact positive role models can have on communities and a lot of the work she does at the Jan Trust helps to equip mothers, in particular, with the right tools to make that positive impact.

“It’s about changing mindsets. Through my work, I’ve changed those mindsets, worked with those at risk, those who believe in this incorrect ideology, the same ideology that led to the attacks on July 7. I’m working with mothers of and the young men who think that.”

There is no doubt that what happened on 7/7 changed Mughal’s life and work forever. She tries to channel the tragedy and negativity of that day into something positive, into changing lives for the better in her local community.

In an interview last year on the 9th anniversary of 7/7 London bombing she said, ” had the mothers of the four terrorists who detonated bombs on July 7, 2005, killing 52 victims, been better “equipped” to spot and deal with their sons’ “incorrect ideology”, we may have been able to prevent the bombings altogether, she claimed.

“Women and mothers are role models and key influencers within their home. They can nurture their children in order to change their mindset. July 7 was carried out by four Muslim males, with an incorrect ideology. Potentially, had their mothers been equipped and empowered, and nurtured their children, we may have prevented that attack from happening,” she says.