Chief Rabbi urges unity in address to London mosque after Christchurch attack
search

Chief Rabbi urges unity in address to London mosque after Christchurch attack

Call made for people to come together after New Zealand massacre, as mayor says 'same sort of support' should be given to Muslim community's security as for Jewish institutions

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis addressing London Central Mosque on Monday, with Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury alongside him
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis addressing London Central Mosque on Monday, with Sadiq Khan, London Mayor, Sajid Javid, Home Secretary, and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury alongside him

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis urged unity between communities at London Central mosque this week, as politicians were warned about allowing Islamophobia to thrive in the wake of the Christchurch massacre.

Joined by Home Secretary Sajid Javid, Communities Secretary James Brokenshire, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby on Monday; he spoke at an event in solidarity with the victims of Friday’s mosque attack in New Zealand, in which at least 50 were killed.

Calling for people to “unite at a time when there are those who are promoting otherness”, he addressed guests after victims’ names were read out and a minute of silence was held.

He said people gathered “as members of the global family of humankind after an attack on us all”, calling for everyone to “unite in full solidarity with broken-hearted Muslims in New Zealand, here in the UK and right around the globe”.

Rabbi Mirvis expressed “total revulsion of the brutal murders of innocent people at prayer, whether that be in mosques, churches or synagogues, in Christchurch, Alexandria or Pittsburgh”, urging co-operation “at a time when there are those who are promoting otherness; who constantly speak in terms of ‘them’ and ‘us’ within our societies”.

Academic Arzoo Ahmed of the Sunni Muslim community, issued a call to action to stop Islamophobia, saying that “while solidarity is great it is not enough and we need action.”

She called on politicians and the media to take responsibility “for the language that you have used .. to enable such harmful attitudes to thrive.”

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis speaking with Home Secretary Sajid Javid at the event at London Central Mosque

Addressing the Home Secretary directly, she called on him “to respond to calls for increased spending on the protection of all religious institutions that are at risk, and urgently for mosques.”

This comes after Sajid Javid announced a boost to the Government’s financial commitment to Jewish community security by £600,000 to £14 million per year, in February of this year.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said there was “anger” and “frustration” among young Muslims, adding they had raised concerns about language used by politicians “that could’ve led to some of the behaviour and actions we’ve seen not just in Christchurch but in this country”.

He said Muslims he spoke to are supportive of financial support for security for Jewish places of worship – but cautioned that additional funds are needed for Islamic places of worship.

“What the Muslims who are here are saying is, ‘Don’t take the money away from the Jewish synagogues and the Jewish schools, but we’ve seen the difference that additional financial support can provide to Jewish schools and we think the same sort of support should be given to Islamic places of worship and Islamic ethos schools’.”

He is set to write to Javid on the issue of funding for security for mosques across the country.

Archbishop Justin Welby pledged that the church will stand with Muslims who are being persecuted, saying “if we have not been with you sufficiently yet.. I am so sorry.”

read more:
comments