UK: May apologises for inadequate Grenfell tower fire response

22nd Jun 2017
UK: May apologises for inadequate Grenfell tower fire response

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

 

LONDON (AA): British Prime Minister Theresa May apologized Wednesday for the inadequate support for the victims and families of last week’s Grenfell Tower block fire, which killed at least 79 people.

Meanwhile, Nicholas Holgate, the Chief Executive of Kensington and Chelsea council resigned amid criticism over the borough’s handling of the Grenfell Tower fire.

“Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the Council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed,” Holgate said in a statement issued by the council.

May’s apology came the same day as funeral prayers for Mohammed Aljahali, a Syrian refugee who was identified as the first victim of the catastrophe at the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre.

Speaking after the queen had laid out the new government’s legislative program, May said the initial response to the Grenfell Tower fire was “not good enough”.

“As prime minister, I apologize for that failure,” she said.

Having ordered an emergency aid package for the fire survivors and a full public inquiry into the incident, May said that all those who have lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks.

Meanwhile, a Muslim congregation of around 2,700 people joined family members and relatives of Mohammed Aljahali at a funeral ceremony in east London.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, joined in the prayers after meeting privately with Mohammed’s family to offer his condolences, a statement by the East London mosque said.

Alhajali, 23, was a refugee from war-torn Syria who had begun to pursue his dream of studying engineering in London.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. However, local media reports suggest inadequate fireproofing and cladding in the 120-apartment block that was not fire-resistant could be to blame.

 

Islamophobic terror attack

 

May also spoke about the terror attack early Monday targeting Muslim Welfare House on Finsbury Park Road, in north London.

May said she joined opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in condemning the appalling attack.

“This was the fourth terrorist attack on our country in three months following the attacks here in Westminster, in Manchester, and at London Bridge,” May said.

“This time it was an attack on British Muslims as they left their place of worship at a sacred time of the year. It was a brutal and sickening reminder that terrorism, extremism, and hatred can take many forms and our determination to tackle them must be the same whoever is responsible,” she added.

Underlining that the government will review the country’s counterterrorism strategy and pledging more power to security forces in the fight against extremism and terrorism, May said they will work to reach international agreements for a safer cyberspace.

She also expressed the government’s determination to fight extremism and hate in the same way they fight racism by forming a commission, in a pledge laid out earlier in the Queen’s Speech.

“This extremism is every bit as insidious and destructive to our values and we will stop at nothing to defeat it,” she said.

May added that no matter what disagreements exist, “we can all at least welcome the focus in this Queen’s Speech on stamping out extremist and hateful ideology of any kind, including Islamophobia.”

In Monday’s terror attack at Seven Sisters Road, near Finsbury Park Mosque, Darren Osborne, 47, allegedly drove into a crowd of Muslim worshippers who were leaving Taraweeh prayer, killing Makram Ali, a 51-year-old father of five and injuring 11 others, two critically.

[Photo: Lighting candles during vigil for victims of Grenfell Fire at Parliament Square on 19 June 17. Photographer: Kate Green/ AA]

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