Obituary: Shahara Islam

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image captionHer family described Shahara as an Eastender, a Londoner and British, but above all a true Muslim

In some ways Shahara Islam embodied a meeting of Western and Muslim values, enjoying shopping in the West End but always being present at her mosque for Friday prayers.

A love of clothes ensured the cashier for the Co-operative Bank, in Islington, was always immaculately turned out, whether in the Western fashions she wore to work or the traditional shalwar kameez at home in Plaistow.

Described by her family as an outgoing woman who made friends easily, Shahara Islam, 20, grew up in Whitechapel, east London.

She left Barking Abbey Comprehensive School with two A-levels but decided to go straight into work rather than enter higher education.

"She was an Eastender, a Londoner and British, but above all a true Muslim and proud to be so," said a statement from her family released shortly after her death.

Like so many who died on 7 July 2005, uncertainty surrounded her movements.

Initially it was thought she may have died in the Circle Line bomb detonated near Aldgate Tube station.

In fact, she had boarded the number 30 bus destroyed by a suicide bomber at 0947 BST, almost an hour after the Tube bomb blasts.

Her uncle, Nazmul Hasan, received a call from Ms Islam's mobile phone at exactly that time.

"I didn't know anything was wrong then," he told the Guardian. "There was no voice, just the sound of people talking and a commotion in the street. Then it went dead."

In a statement made to the police, a colleague, Emma Plunkett, said she and Shahara had discussed which buses could get them to work.

Ms Plunkett suggested going for a cup of tea while the queues died down, but Ms Islam was keen to get to work so they set off together.

'Rest in peace'

Mr Hasan said his niece's family had been "very happy and proud of her".

"Everyone who knows her loves her dearly. There isn't a single person who could say a bad thing about her," he said, speaking before her death was confirmed.

Ms Islam was the oldest of three children born to Bangladeshi parents - her father Shamsul moved to London in the 1960s and worked as a supervisor with Transport for London.

Her mother Romena stayed at home to raise her brother Anharul, aged 17 at the time of his sister's death, and sister Tasneem, then 13.

One of her customers at the bank, Giuseppe Ferrara, said: "She was always very polite and kind to the customers of the bank, me included.

"Rest in peace, Shahara."

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