The brother of a shop worker who died in the Canary Wharf bomb of 1996 says he fears the threat of terrorism is greater than ever.
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of two Canary Wharf workers after an IRA bomb ripped through South Quay.
Last week shop owner Ihsan Bashir, whose brother Inam was one of those who died in the blast, made a pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina to pray for peace. But he said he felt the international world had slipped backwards in the fight against terror.
“We’re still under threat but not from the IRA now but many other organisations,” said Ihsan who now runs the Baguette Express in Marsh Wall at the site of the former newsagents which was attacked. “And we have to ask ourselves has rewarding other people in the past who have committed terror impacted this?
“We’re under more threat than ever before and it’s on our doorstep.”
A member of the Docklands Victims Association, set up in the wake of the Canary Wharf attack, Ihsan has linked up with many other groups affected by terror.
The trip to the holy lands of Mecca and Medina saw him encounter many from the troubled areas of Iraq and Syria.
“There were so many nationalities and we were all there to ask God for peace and to make our lives better,” said Ihsan.
“Next year will be 20 years since my brother’s death so I wanted to go there to pray for him and peace. We also wanted to show solidarity with the other victims.”
And Ihsan was keen to praise Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, who last week drew parallels between the IRA, which was responsible for the Canary Wharf bomb, and Islamic State.
“The cardinal is a brave man to state that,” said Ihsan. “He raised an important question regarding terrorism. “What message has it sent to have people in positions of power now who were responsible for attacks in the past?”
President of DVA Jonathan Ganesh said it was an honour for the group to be represented in the Middle East.
“All true Muslims, as well as those of all faiths, are good people who despise terrorism,” he said. “No true God tells us to kill innocent people. The world must continue to work together to ensure that humanity will prevail.”
John Jeffries, who worked in the shop with Inam, was also killed in the blast.