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Sadiq Khan has failed our community, says Labour councillor in wake of stab death

'When a white boy dies it is big news, but when the boy is black, Somali, then it feels like nobody care'

25 September, 2020 — By Calum Fraser

Sadiq Khan likes photo opportunities, claims Islington Council’s outgoing mayor

REPRESENTATIVES of Islington’s close-knit Somali community have criticised Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in the wake of the killing of a teenager in Holloway, claiming people feel that he has “abandoned” them.

Kamal Nuur, 18, was stabbed to death in Goodinge Close, off North Road, last week, leaving friends and acquaintances in mourning.

Now Labour councillor Rakhia Ismail, who represents Holloway ward and until last night was the local Mayor of Islington, is among a chorus of voices attacking Mr Khan for not coming to meet them either before or after the killing.

Hana Hussein, who works for the Somali Speaker Women’s Group and campaigns on youth issues, said: “It has been more than a week since Kamal was killed and there has been no word from anyone. Mayor Sadiq Khan has not contacted us, he has not come to us. We email him, we call him and we feel he just doesn’t have time for us.”

She added: “When a white boy dies it is big news, but when the boy is black, Somali, then it feels like nobody cares. There are too many Somalis being killed. My cousin’s son, he was killed. His older brother was killed in Enfield, stabbed to death while he was having his hair cut.”

Hana Hussein

The police this week released CCTV images of two suspects believed to be fleeing the scene on a bicycle just before 8pm. This was moments after Mr Nuur was killed on Monday September 14.

Flowers mark the spot of another street murder and, below, CCTV released by detectives

The suspects sped along North Road towards York Way and then up to Brecknock Road.

A memorial shrine of flowers and cards have been laid by Mr Nuur’s friends and loved-ones next to the spot where he died. One note to the teenager says: “You were one of the most loyal, kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. You were so loved by everyone.”

Cllr Ismail said: “Sadiq Khan has totally failed us. He is failing every child that is killed on the streets, not just those in the Somali community but all of them.”

She said that she had reached out to the mayor last year when she was running a campaign against knife crime but claimed he ignored her until it started gaining national media attention.

Cllr Rakhia Ismail

She added that she felt like Mr Khan was only interested in a “photo opportunity” instead of engaging with her on issues the Somali community were experiencing.

Father-of-two Abdulghani Abdullahi, who lives just off North Road close to where Mr Nuur was killed, said: “We only hear from politicians when it is close to an election, then they come and give us letters and they want our vote. After that, we are abandoned. How can this be fair? Our children need opportunity. Sadiq Khan has failed to give us hope.”

Abdulghani Abdullahi

After the Tribune contacted Mr Khan’s office, he said this week: “Losing a loved one to violence is absolutely devastating and I can’t begin to imagine what Kamal’s family, friends and the local community are going through. My thoughts are with them at this terrible time.

“I regularly meet with bereaved families who have been left heartbroken by knife crime and know the deep and long-lasting impact not just on them, but also on the whole community. I have also met members of the Somali community in Islington and Camden who have been affected by violence and I convened a meeting with Somali communities from across London to talk about a range of issues, including serious youth violence.”

Mr Khan will face mayoral elections in May after this year’s elections were postponed due to the Covid-19 crisis. He is being challenged by Conservative Shaun Bailey and the Greens’ Sian Berry, with the Lib Dems currently choosing a candidate.

Kamal Nuur

Mr Khan added: “I’m committed to standing up for all communities across our hugely diverse city and am more determined than ever to be tough on crime and tough on the complex of causes of crime. I would urge anyone with any information to call detectives on 0208 358 033 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously to secure justice for all those who knew and loved Kamal. There is no honour in staying silent.”

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