The family of murder victim Mihrican Mustafa are to honour her memory with an event that brings together other families who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstances.
Called The Table of Love and Loss, the event will take place at East Ham Town Hall in East London on Sunday, 4 December.
It offers the families and friends of 20 victims the chance to come together and share their stories and memories of their loved ones. Each family will have their own table to adorn with photos and other memorabilia of the person they have lost, allowing them to not only mourn but also to celebrate the life of the victim.
The Table of Love and Loss is organised by Ayşe Hussein, in loving memory of her cousin Mihrican, who is affectionally called Jan or Canan for short.
Canan was murdered in Newham. Her body, along with that of Hungarian Henriett Szucs, was found in the flat of Zahid Younis in April 2019. Younis was convicted of their murder and sentenced to life in prison the following year.
Information about The Table of Love and Loss states the event will allow the public and families “to meet, comfort one another, share experiences, and raise awareness about important issues including violence against women and girls, knife crime and homophobia.”
Along with the bereaved families will be stands representing specialist women’s support organisations, mental health services, groups combating domestic violence and honour violence, victim support, and parent and family support groups. There will be activities for children, including a crèche, and a quiet area with a counsellor / Mental health team.
T-VINE talked Ayşe Hussein about why she felt the need to organise such an event, and what she hopes to achieve.
“I wanted to organise the Table of Love and Loss for many reasons. After Jan passed away, I went to a few vigils of other murder victims to pay my respects. I would always want to approach the family afterwards, but I would never get the opportunity. I would read about police failings and see how isolated the families were. Like us, it felt like they also had no support to deal with their trauma, and I felt it was important to help”, Ayşe explained.
“After losing Jan, my life has changed. I think and feel differently about so many things. I want to help and support others, and to share everything I have learnt,” she added.
Ayşe spoke of the need to create a suitable legacy for her cousin Jan: “The Table of Love and Loss is so important to me. I always thought about doing a vigil for Jan, but it was never the right time.
“Jan always wanted to help others, so I combined this too. The event is in Jan’s memory, and we will be helping more than twenty families that day to come together, to unite as one, to share what we have been through, and to be there for each other.
“Everyone I have met has become a part of me, and I feel I have a really special connection with them.
“Jan wrote in her diary that she wanted to help others in need. The Table of Love and Loss granted Jan’s wish and I know she would be so proud of this event in her honour, and it’s fitting it’s part of her legacy.”
Ayşe and Jan’s family were left alone to deal with seeking Jan, who was missing for a year before the discovery of her body. They also lacked support and guidance in the aftermath of learning that she had been murdered.
“It’s important for the public to come to the event, and to meet everyone and to support us all. People don’t understand what we have all been through, and to speak to so many in the same situation can be very powerful,” Ayşe stated.
“While Jan was missing, we set up a Facebook page and was so overwhelmed by the support and generosity from the public. People we never knew have become our best friends,” she continued, while taking aim at those failing to step forward to support her and Jan’s children and immediate family.
“We have never been approached by any Turkish women’s groups, including those who say they offer support to victims of domestic abuse. I have tried contacting some of these groups for help and guidance, but they have never got back to me.
“As a Turkish lady this worries me dearly. Where do Turkish women go for help, this maybe something I may consider in the future.”
T-VINE also spoke to Jan’s eldest sister, Mel Mustafa, who is also involved in The Table of Love and Loss, about how she wants her sister to be remembered.
“I would like my sister to be remembered by her name, her kindness and her love for others. I want this event to raise awareness and for the Turkish community to become more involved in helping the victims and their families,” Mel stated.
The family say they will make a special announcement on the day of the event. Among those will be speaking at The Table of Love and Loss are: Anjum Mouj of the London Black Women’s Project, Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, Mayor of Newham, author Jessica Harrington (‘The Girl In The Pink Shoes’), and Simon Harding, a former Homicide Senior Investigating Officer.
Members of Parliament are also expected to attend and support. There will also be representatives from charity NIA, which is delivering services to end violence against women and children.
Title: The Table of Love & Loss
Date: Sunday 4 December 2022
Time: 1pm to 4.30pm
Venue: East Ham Town Hall, 328 Barking Road, East Ham, London E6 2RP
Transport: Nearest tube station: East Ham (District Line). Buses – 5, 58, 101, 115, 238, 276, 300, 304, 325, 474
Admission and additional information: the event is free to attend and no prior registration is needed. For more information contact Ayse Hussein on 07852 273018 or visit the event’s Facebook page
Please note – there will be filming and photography at this event.