“We’ve lost a lot of young people around here,” reflects Saleh Luqman, casting a coach’s critical eye as a cluster of teenage boys conscientiously shoot basketballs into a net.
Saleh Luqman: “We are extending arms everywhere to be part and parcel of everyday life.” [Simon Hooper]
“In the last few months it’s been under the radar and out of the headlines, but if you look inside the paper it’s still going on, every week. There are a lot of vulnerable people out there.”
For the youngsters, this Saturday morning session in a school gymnasium in the north London borough of Enfield is a chance to hone their crossovers and perfect their layups.
But Luqman, one of the growing number of black converts to Islam in the UK, is more concerned about the bigger picture. While the brutal murder in Woolwich of Lee Rigby, a serving soldier, and subsequent trial and conviction of his two killers made headlines around the world, young black males are the routine victims, and perpetrators, of extreme violence on the streets of the British capital.