Vigil to be held at Nottingham Islamic Centre for New Zealand terror attack victims

Statement from Islamic Centre Nottingham and Himmah, via the Community Safety Forum Project.

‘We are shocked and devastated by the terrible attack in New Zealand. Heartbroken to have woken up the news feeds this morning. Children, women and the elderly brutally murdered in a scared space, an abode of peace. Our hearts and prayers go out to those murdered and injured, their families and the wider community in Christchurch.

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‘Prayer is the most basic and fundamental expression of faith and the innocents murdered in Christchurch should have been able to take their freedom to express their faith for granted.

‘New Zealand may seem a long way from Nottingham but these were our brothers and sisters and their loss is a loss that hits us hard. We must now reflect on the growing elements of Islamophobia within our own community and around the world and take collectively responsibility for tackling it so that when we say “never again” we truly mean it and we make it so.

‘The nature of the rising far right threat is that it is legitimised and fuelled by the rhetoric and complicity of both the mainstream media and mainstream politicians.

‘Political leaders who have turned a blind eye to the incessant drum roll of anti-Muslim racism must reflect on the impact of their silence. Every tolerated or ignored slur and innuendo enables this climate of hatred and Islamophobia. Today, ordinary people praying peacefully in mosques are the ones who have paid the price. This hatred must now be fought without compromise, and those responsible for it held to account,

‘It is natural to feel angry, but more anger, more hate, will not achieve anything. Instead we must pull together in the spirit of love and friendship. To show those who seek to divide our communities that they only strengthen us.

‘There is nowhere better for us to start than here in Nottingham, this Saturday 16th at 1pm the Islamic Centre Nottingham will be opening up our mosque, holding a vigil, signing a book of remembrance and renewing and strengthening our ties of friendship with our neighbours and fellow citizens.

‘We all share the same vision, hope and dreams of a more compassionate, just and peaceful city and country. Come and join us in solidarity and lets all the take the first step together.

Sajid Mohammed, Director, Himmah and Community Safety Forum said:” Terrorist and far right hate speakers seek to divide us, through fear and violence. Our communities have fought division before, we’ve come together as people from different creeds, background, ethnicities, genders and beliefs and fought against hate and I call on us all to do it again.

Sufi Ramzan, Secretary of Islamic Centre Nottingham said: “In times like this, we all need to stand together, united for peace and justice. We invite all our neighbours in Nottingham to join us in remembering the sad loss in New Zealand but also to committing for a better future”.

Councillor Toby Neal, the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Community, said: “These horrific attacks have outraged people in Nottingham and across the world. They are a crime against humanity as a whole but their impact will obviously be felt most by Muslim communities.

“The people behind these attacks want to divide us and spread fear. We won’t let that happen, certainly not in Nottingham where people have always got along whatever their background or religion. We want our Muslim communities to know that Nottingham stands together with them.”

Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, will attend the vigil.  He added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims of this mindless and evil violence.  Those directly affected are in our in our thoughts and prayers.

“I have spoken with the Chief Constable and am reassured that every step is being taken to ensure safety in Nottinghamshire.”