Following the incidents at the Al Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre in New Zealand, the city’s One Voice Partnership organised a vigil this evening (March 21) outside Hove Town Hall.
FIFTY people have lost their lives and at least twenty were wounded in shootings at the two mosques in Christchurch. The shootings took place around the time people were attending for Friday prayers.
Speakers addressing the hundreds who turned up at Hove Town Hall to show their support for Muslims all over the world included:
♦ Geoff Raw, CEO of the Brighton & Hove City Council who gave the opening speech
♦ Imam Uthman delivered a recitation from Quran (Al-Fatiha)
♦ Asmat Roe, Chair Muslim Women’s Group and Vice Chair of the RHF
♦ Cllr Daniel Yates, Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council
♦ Mahir Chowdhury, Chair of the Racial Harassment Forum (RHF)
♦ Fiona Sharpe, on behalf of the Sussex Jewish Representative Council
♦ Richard Williams, Chair, Sanctuary on Sea
♦ Father Jerome (Metropolitan Jerome of Selsey), Acting Chair BHFA & Faith Council
♦ Rabbi Dr. Andrea Zanardo, B&H Reform Synagogue
♦ Tariq Jung, Chair, Brighton & Hove Muslim Forum and
♦ Imam Uthman from the Al-Medinah mosque who gave the closing statement which was followed by a minutes silence.
A statement from the One Voice Partnership says: “We do not tolerate violence against innocent people, wherever it takes place. Together we speak with one voice against extremist perspectives and terrorist actions in the city and elsewhere.
“The Brighton & Hove One Voice Partnership reaffirms that communities, council and police stand together in solidarity with our Muslim communities following the tragic incident in Christchurch, New Zealand. We stand firm that these acts of violence, Islamophobia and hate must not go any further. We stand together to counter the threat from the far right.
“It’s now even more important for all our communities to demonstrate that we will not let any terrorist action divide us and continue our great tradition of unity and respect for all. We must look out and care for each other and ensure that individuals, communities and places of worship are not singled out in our city.
“One Voice Partnership urges all our communities to stand together as one to stop these acts of violence and hatred from carrying on further and work together to stop Islamophobia, racist and other hate incidents.”
The Leaders of the four political groups on Brighton & Hove City Council, Cllr Daniel Yates (Labour), Cllr Tony Janio (Conservative), Cllr Warren Morgan (Independent) and Cllr Phélim MacCafferty (Green) issued a joint collective statement saying: “We are deeply shocked and saddened by the acts of terror which have killed and injured so many innocent people whilst they worshiped.
“We send our sincere condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, those who have been injured, and all affected. We also send our best wishes for a fast and full recovery to everyone who was injured.
“We repeat our commitment to unity. We stand together; strong in compassion with people from all faiths and backgrounds. Division and hatred drives people into the ranks of those trying to recruit support to their terror campaigns. We will not let this happen.”
As a sign of respect flags were flown at half-mast over both town hall this afternoon and will continue over the weekend.