COSSThis is a piece for the University of Birmingham’s College of Social Sciences news page that was reworked from my earlier Huffington Post article. To read the original piece, click here.

Tenth anniversary of 7/7 bombings

The tenth anniversary of the 7/7 London terror attacks will rightly focus on the sheer horror of the day’s unfolding events and tragic loss of life. One cannot forget the shocking images of carnage and chaos that accompanied the news that four bombs – three on Underground trains, one on a double decker bus – had killed 52 civilians and injured more than 700 others.

The legacy left by these events has, however, been more far-reaching than might have been expected, having had something of a profound impact on how we live our everyday lives. From more security checks at airports and the increased monitoring of social media, the new counter-terror measures requiring public sector workers to play a greater role in combating extremism, and schools being required to teach ‘British values’, 7/7’s impact has been significant.

A less obvious impact however can be seen in relation to Britain’s multiculturalism and how we perceive our diversity.

To illustrate this, one only has to think about the day before 7/7. On that day, 6 July 2005, Britain won the right to host the 2012 Olympics in London. As celebrations took place in Trafalgar Square, many acknowledged how Britain’s multiculturalism – ‘The World in One City’ – had been a distinctive and critical factor in the decision-making process.

24 hours later and Britain’s multiculturalism was under a very different spotlight. Following the news that all of the 7/7 bombers were British-born, or ‘home-grown’ as it has been commonly referred to since, many began to search for answers about how this could have happened. For many, it was the inherent failings of Britain’s multicultural social model that was to blame, so much so that a forceful political response to it was required.

To continue reading, click here.

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