Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5


Dozens of poor residents were burned to death in a neglected block in Britain’s wealthiest district. The prime minister’s mishandling could help Jeremy Corbyn into power.


LONDON — They have not yet said it in public, but police and firefighters fear this week’s high-rise fire in West London is the most deadly British disaster in a generation.

The list of missing people stretches to 400. Officials say they believe the number of dead is lower than that because they have many instances of duplicated missing-persons reports—but the truth is they have no idea exactly how many people were crammed into the dangerous, outdated public-housing block that stands in London’s richest borough. The average price of a property (taking into account studios, larger apartments, and mansions) is over $1.5 million in Kensington and Chelsea. Neighbors include the royals William, Kate, and Harry.

Yet the poverty-stricken occupants of the doomed tower had begged the authorities to listen to their fears of a major fire for years.

Fed up and in despair, the Grenfell Action Group admitted defeat in November, comparing the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization to the regime of Kim Jong Un and predicting that only a devastating inferno would force their landlords to act.

“We have blogged many times on the subject of fire safety at Grenfell Tower and we believe that these investigations will become part of damning evidence of the poor safety record of the KCTMO should a fire affect any other of their properties and cause the loss of life that we are predicting,” they wrote last year.

A blaze that is believed to have started in an apartment on one of the lower floors engulfed the building within 20 minutes. Residents who called the emergency services were told to shelter in place rather than try to escape. The authorities now admit that they may never be able to identify some of those victims.

As the smoke and flames grew more intense, some people are believed to have leaped to their deaths from the burning building. Children were thrown from windows to be caught by the crowds below.
Unlike the private high-rises built for wealthier families and businesses in Central London, Grenfell had no sprinkler system and only one staircase. The Times reports Friday that the cladding used in a refurbishment last summer has been banned in the U.S. for use on high-rise buildings. Those overseeing the construction reportedly opted to buy the $28 panels instead of the $30 fireproof panels; that decision is estimated to have saved around $6,000 in total.

With sporadic fires still burning in the blackened remains of the building—where at least 30 people are confirmed to have died—Britain’s leading politicians arrived on the scene Thursday. Their instinctive approaches to the horror could hardly have been more different.

Prime Minister Theresa May, who is trying to form a minority Conservative government after last week’s humbling election, refused to meet any of the survivors or members of the devastated community—presumably for fear of a hostile reception that would be captured by the cameras. Instead she met privately with the first responders who had risked their lives to deal with the blaze, then got back into her armored car and raced home to Downing Street.

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s left-wing leader, took an altogether different approach. He was seen hugging survivors, taking questions from infuriated residents, and demanding action to re-house those who have lost everything. As one woman broke down in tears sharing her fears for a missing 12-year-old girl, Corbyn put his arm around her shoulder and pulled her in tight. Another woman told Corbyn: “Theresa May was here but she didn’t speak to any of us. She was shit.”

Just as she flunked her first prime ministerial election campaign, May has misread the mood of the public.

She has called for a full public inquiry into the fire, but the righteous anger brought to the fore by an avoidable catastrophe on this scale cannot be quelled so easily. Her failure to meet those affected by the disaster has drawn inevitable comparisons to George W. Bush’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

Michael Portillo, the former deputy leader of the Conservative party, said she should have been with the residents. “Alas Mrs. May has been what she has [been like] for the last five or six weeks. She wanted an entirely controlled situation in which she didn't use her humanity,” he told the BBC.

With May’s grip on power so weak after an election, the Conservatives are terrified that Corbyn’s populist Labour Party stands on the brink of power. If the minority government falls, it is now possible to imagine that Labour would secure the most seats in an upcoming election.

Emboldened by last week’s results in which 40 percent of voters backed a radical left-wing Labour manifesto, Corbyn raised the prospect of seizing empty houses owned by foreign investors in order to shelter those families who were burned out of their homes high above London’s billionaire paradise.

“The south part of Kensington is incredibly wealthy, it’s the wealthiest part of the country. The ward where this fire took place is, I think the poorest ward in the whole country,” Corbyn said in the House of Commons on Thursday. “Properties must be found, requisitioned if necessary, in order to make sure those residents do get re-housed locally. It cannot be acceptable that in London you have luxury buildings and luxury flats kept as land banking for the future while the homeless and the poor look for somewhere to live.”
His words will seem appealing to many when set against the apparently unmoved Conservatives.

Last year, Labour tabled an amendment to a housing bill that would require private landlords to ensure the properties they were renting out were “fit for human habitation.” It was voted down by the Conservatives, who argued that the move would force up rents.

The law change would not have affected public housing like the tower that caught fire this week, but it has captured the mood. According to Parliament’s register of interests, 72 of the MPs who voted against the amendment were landlords themselves. A list of those MPs became popular on social media last year and the roll call of shame has returned with a vengeance in the days since the flames swept through Grenfell.

To make matters worse for the Conservatives, Gavin Barwell was the housing minister until this month, and he failed to deliver a promised review into fire risks in high-rise buildings. May appointed him as her new chief of staff just four days before the devastating fire.

Helped by May’s clumsy politicking, Labour unexpectedly succeeded in turning the London Bridge terror attack into a debate about cuts to public services. The same issues are being debated in Britain today, not least since Conservative cuts—overseen by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in London—have resulted in drastic reductions in the fire service. In London alone, 10 fire stations have been closed down, 27 fire engines scrapped, and 600 firefighting jobs have been lost since 2010.

With the economy already straining under the threat of Brexit, Britain could be ready to usher in the most left-wing government in its history.


Scenes from the Grenfell Tower fire coverage continues to distress the country. Shocking accounts of witnesses and residents describing how they loss their loved ones and escaped the fire themselves, have been etched into the memory of the United Kingdom. But the most disconcerting reality people are having to live with is that this tragedy could have been avoided.

Whilst there have been dozens of community testimonies describing the lack of fire safety, the inferno has also brought into light the gaping inequality between rich and poor. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea are of the most affluent areas in the world, yet this man-made disaster took place upon poor people living in the same place. The borough is among London’s most unequal, with extreme poverty and wealth living side by side. Data shows that the vicinity of the tower was among the top 10% most deprived areas in England in 2015, ranking alongside parts of Bradford and south Tyneside.

According to the English Indices of Deprivation, there were 11 so-called lower super output areas (LSOAs) in Kensington and Chelsea that ranked in the poorest decile in the country. On the other hand, 14 areas in the local authority were among the 30% least deprived. The data also revealed that Grenfell Tower and its surroundings are in the most deprived 20% of areas in England for employment and living environment. Also, the most deprived 30% for health deprivation and disability and the most deprived 40% for crime.

Residents in places like Grenfell Tower do not enjoy the same privileges like their other wealthy neighbours are granted. Residents repeatedly voiced concerns about fire safety in Grenfell Tower, including that there was only one escape route and no building-wide fire alarm or sprinkler system. They say their concerns were “brushed away” by the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation, which manages thousands of properties for the council.

One of the main reasons for this economic inequality is because the rich have huge influence upon political leadership and political institutions. British government’s have overwhelmingly served the interests of the wealthy to the detriment of ordinary people. The concerns of the poor like those at Grenfell Tower were ignored but this is not the same for the wealthy in the borough. 

The rich have been able to preserve such a status quo as the lowest tax rates, the best health and education and the best housing and surroundings to live. Without a concerted effort to tackle inequality, privilege and disadvantage will continue down the generations. 

The idea that wealth will simply trickle-down automatically to the poor, by focusing on growth, has proven to be false. Today eight people own the same amount of wealth as half of the world’s population. This stark reality isn’t simply due to policy, it’s due to the flawed Capitalism system that’s built upon a flawed economic philosophy.  

In contrast to Capitalism, where the aim of the game is to produce the most wealth, the primary aim of the Islamic economic system is to fulfil the basic needs of society by ensuring the circulation of wealth. Its goal is to ensure that the basic needs of every citizen are fulfilled, not simply to create perpetual economic growth that only some people benefit from. Moreover, Islam does not allow the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few. Islam has a wealth based taxation system that ensures only those with surplus wealth are taxed. According to the rules of Shariah by implementing the Zakat system, rules of distribution of lands, prohibiting hoarding and interests (riba), Islam will close the door of unjust accumulation of wealth definitively. 

Islam will ensure fair distribution of wealth through strict Shariah principals so that economic development will be enjoyed by the society as a whole. It was the system of the Khilafah which freed people from the never-ending misery of man-made economies in and led them to a life where their basic needs like housing were fulfilled. 

Islam does not tolerate gross division in society where one group of people enjoy profits and other people do not have their basic living conditions met. It will also not permit putting profits over safety as we have seen with the Grenfell tower where cheaper material was used that was more flammable so that the more money could be saved. Grenfell Tower will no doubt trigger a national debate. As Muslims, our duty is to ensure Islam as an alternative way of life is presented as part of this debate.

“And what Allah restored to His Messenger from the people of the towns – it is for Allah and for the Messenger and for [his] near relatives and orphans and the [stranded] traveler – so that it will not be a perpetual distribution among the rich from among you. And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty.


The horrific Grenfell Tower inferno has shook all the communities in the UK. Harrowing stories by eye-witnesses and neighbours have left emotional scars which will take time to manage and heal. Witnesses were helpless and desperately watching their friends and families stuck inside a 24-story building. This terrifying experience is not a position any human should have to face. We express our deepest condolence to the victims and to the hundreds who have lost their homes. As to those who lost their lives we remind them of the saying of our beloved Prophet  “Someone who dies by fire is a martyr, someone who dies under a falling building is a martyr” Al-Muwatta.

Our hearts are warmed by the amazing community response. The community including Mosques opened their doors to those that needed shelter and comfort. There has also been a number of fundraising iniatives to provide financial support to those affected and we encourage everyone to contribute towards this.

This is a shocking incident and the public have, rightly so, raised questions about the duties of the government in keeping people safe in social housing like Grenfell Towers in disbelief to how such an incident could occur.

Theresa May’s new chief of staff Gavin Barwell was one of a series of housing ministers who “sat on” a report warning high-rise blocks like Grenfell Tower were vulnerable to fire for four years. A former Chief Fire Officer and secretary of a parliamentary group on fire safety revealed successive ministers had damning evidence on their desks since 2013 and nothing had happened.  Gavin Barwell, who was housing minister, promised to review part B of the Building Regulations 2010, which relate to fire safety, but the review never materialised. The government minister warned against enhancing fire safety rules to include sprinklers because it could discourage house building.

A Coroner’s report into a 2009 blaze in London recommended building regulations be updated, and called for developers refurbishing high-rise blocks to be encouraged to install sprinkler systems.

But five years later, former Housing Minister Brandon Lewis told MPs: “We believe that it is the responsibility of the fire industry, rather than the Government, to market fire sprinkler systems effectively and to encourage their wider installation.”

He said the Tory government had committed to being the first to reduce regulations nationwide, pledging a one in-two out rule.

He added: “The cost of fitting a fire sprinkler system may affect house building—something we want to encourage—so we must wait to see what impact that regulation has.”

Kensington is a famously prosperous area of London with an extremely high number of properties worth £1m or more, however this did not happen in a block of luxury flats. It happened in a high-rise building on a council estate. Council housing which is in shocking conditions.

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) is the company which the people who lived at Grenfell Tower had complained about for many years.
The Grenfell Action Group residents’ association had consistently warned about the possibility of such a tragedy citing very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in the Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

The British Government has consistently voted against tenants’ rights over the last few years, even voting down a bill requiring landlords to make their homes fit for habitation. Also it was the British government that drove the loss of 7,000 firefighters over the last five years.

The Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is the epitome of Capitalism. The area is characterised by widening inequality with some of the poorest in London, nearly side by side with billionaire homes.

Dent Coad is an architectural historian and writer who has campaigned against gentrification in the area for the last 11 years in the Borough. She said about the boroughs poverty,  “You can’t always see it by walking around because the council sanitises it by sweeping the streets, pruning the trees and planting hanging baskets. But we have one estate, Henry Dickens Court, that is poorer than the Gorbals and 58% of children live in poverty.”
She further said: “We have areas of extreme poverty. Golborne ward, with the fabulous Trellick tower and Golborne market and all its trendiness, is the joint poorest ward in London. People are getting poorer, their income is dropping, life expectancy is dropping and their health is getting worse. There is no trickle down in Golborne ward and there is no trickle down anywhere in Kensington”

Investigations and reports will now be  conducted however it needs to be explicitly clear – this tragedy is the responsibility of the Government. Under it’s watch it has rejected safety reports and the concerns of residents living in shabby and dangerous conditions. They did this in favour of property development, building properties with the sole aim of reducing costs and maximising profit.

People and their housing needs are not a priority in a system that would rather provide opportunities for billionaires to build swimming pools, rather than place fire sprinklers in social housing.

Indeed the system in Britain is for the rich elite, not for the common man, woman or child.

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (ra) said, “If a lost sheep under my care were to die on the banks of the Euphrates, I would expect Allah the Exalted to question me about it on the Day of Resurrection.” [Hilyat al-Awliya, 137]

Messages In This Thread
GRENFELL TOWER FIRE - by globalvision2000administrator - 06-16-2017, 08:53 PM

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)