Toronto - In a timely and moving show of solidarity, representatives of Christian and Jewish faith groups joined with Muslim leaders in London to condemn the “heinous and appalling terror attack.”
Toronto – In a timely and moving show of solidarity, representatives of Christian and Jewish faith groups joined with Muslim leaders in London to condemn the “heinous and appalling terror attack.”
According to Jewish News, Muslim, Christian and Jewish faith leaders united outside of Westminster Abbey on Friday, eager to present a united front to the world. One by one, they publicly condemned the terrorist act which struck at the heart of London Wednesday morning.
Sheikh Ezzat Khalifa, Chief Imam and head of religious affairs at the London Centre Mosque, urged participants in the vigil to separate the terrible event of Wednesday from the reality of true Islam. “We condemn this act which killed innocent people, and those criminals, we shouldn’t link them with Islam because Islam and all religion, calls for peace, co-existence and tolerance.”
He continued, explaining the importance of remaining united in the face of undeserving violence. “What these criminals are doing is not from the principles of Islam. They want to divide us. We are here together to stand together and to show solidarity, to show co-operation, to face those people and these crimes.”
The Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, passed along a message from Pope Francis. The Pontiff had sent his prayers, Nichols said “for our future, for our well-being, and for our peace.”
Also presiding over the vigil were the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, Chief Rabbi, Ephriam Mirvis and Sheikh Mohammed al Hilli. Representing Shia Muslims, Hilli expressed the deep sympathy of his community to the families of the victims and said, “we utterly condemn this terrorist act.”
When it was Mirvis’ turn to speak, he elaborated on the goal of terrorism, which he described as divisive and fearful. He praised the resilience and tolerance of Londoners. “Londoners are showing right now that we will always stand up with strength to confront terror and we will never be cowed by it. We have come here in friendship on behalf of our communities. We proclaim that no person and no event will drive a wedge between us. Together we will prevail.”
As his contribution, Archbishop Justin Welby, spoke of shock of the event beginning to abate. Reality is now setting in and people affected by the tragedy are beginning to come to grips with a future of consequences. “We have come together in sad reflection but also determination,” he said.
Four people were killed Wednesday morning when a lone terrorist, Khalid Masood, drove his rented USV into crowds of pedestrians crossing Westminster Bridge. He then made his way toward the House of Parliament where he stabbed one police officer to death and wounded two others seriously, before being shot to death by additional officers. More than 50 people were injured, 29 of whom are still in hospital. Seven remain in critical condition.