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Muslims suffer double stress rates from London bombings

26-08-2005

London, IRNA:

The stress caused by the 7/7 bombings in London was far more keenly felt by Muslim residents compared with other inhabitants of the capital, according to a psychological study published in the online version of the British Medical Journal.

Sixty-one per cent of Muslim commuters surveyed suffered substantial stress in the days following the first terrorist attacks on the city's transport system - almost double the proportion felt by other Londoners.

"One can speculate it could be fear of reprisals and being upset about the misusing of their religion [to justify] terrorism," said one of the researchers, Neil Greenberg, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.

The study, which was carried out before the second series of attacks on July 21, suggested that overall Londoners coped reasonably well, although one-third of commuters still felt substantially stressed 12 days after the attacks.

But only 1 per cent of people felt they needed professional help to cope with their emotions in the aftermath of the 7/7 attacks, which killed 56 and injured over 700 others.

The researchers suggested that the previous experience of dealing with bombings carried out by the IRA in the 1980s and early 1990s had psychologically toughened the city's residents.

"People who said they had been exposed to terrorism before were less likely to be stressed," Greenberg said. "If you've been exposed to terrorism before you've learnt ways to make yourself feel safe", he told the New Scientist magazine.

Commuters were found to be four times more likely to be distressed if they thought they could have been injured or killed that day, compared with those who did not believe that possibility.

Researchers, who questioned more than 1,000 people after the bombings, said that an average of 31 per cent reported substantial levels of stress.

They also found that 32 per cent of Londoners said they would now reduce their use of Tubes, trains and buses, and make fewer trips into the centre of the capital.

This compared with 46 per cent saying they did not feel safe travelling by Tube, and 33 per cent not feeling safe in central London. Some 55 per cent believed their lives were in danger and 58 per cent thought the same about their close family and friends.






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