The East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre yesterday convened a major press conference, titled ‘One London, One Community’ at the centre, where faith and civil society leaders spoke out against the terrible attack on London Bridge.

The Mosque’s chairman, Muhammad Habibur Rahman, expressed his condolences and grief for the innocent lives lost: “Once again we come together, to stand united against those who try to divide us. The cold-blooded murder of innocent people in London on Saturday evening will not succeed in driving us apart. The gathering of all of us here today is testament to our resolve.”

He added: “Those evil terrorists who target even children will never succeed. We will continue to stand firmly against them, to work to counteract their twisted narrative and their perversion of the religion of Islam… I have a clear message to those who perpetrate terrorism: you are against the very core teachings of Islam and of our beloved Prophet; your misguidance will lead you to destruction, and God-willing you will utterly fail in your evil aims. We stand apart from you and your corruption of the religion of Islam. Terrorism has no faith.”

The Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Adrian Newman, spoke of London as a “global city” and that a “part of our identity is to rejoice in this rich mixture of cultures, faiths, heritage and backgrounds.” He went on to say, “An attack on our community is an attack on all of us.”

Mehri Niknam, Executive Director of the Joseph Interfaith Foundation, which brings Jews and Muslims together, welcomed the statements but added: “To condemn is only half way. We must also actively confront it, loudly and clearly… We need to remove what again is presented as an aberration of Islam and the Muslim community in this country.”

Catriona Robertson, Director of the Christian-Muslim Forum, conveyed greetings of peace, and said: “Interfaith organisations across the country have denounced the violence and express their great sorrow at the loss of life. At these difficult times we realise the value of our day-to-day work in building strong and resilient relationships.”

Oliver McTernan, Director of Forward Thinking, remarked: “No explanation, no excuse can ever justify the atrocities in London Bridge, Manchester and previously in Westminster, whatever the motivation… the Muslim community here in East London and elsewhere in Britain also becomes victim of such acts. We must remind ourselves that Muslims are not the problem, they are part of the solution.”

In response to significant media speculation concerning one of the London Bridge attackers, the East London Mosque can confirm he did not worship here; the mosque and its worshippers have consistently and robustly opposed extremist groups like Al-Muhajiroun for decades.

Mosque leaders later attended the vigil next to London Bridge called by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to remember those killed and injured as a show of solidarity.

[ENDS]

Notes to editors:

1. Members of the panel included:

Neil Jameson- Executive Director, Citizens UK; Mehri Niknam – Executive Director, Joseph Interfaith Foundation; Mohammed Kozbar – Deputy President, Muslim Association of Britain; Bishop Adrian Newman – Bishop of Stepney; Sufia Alam – Manager, Maryam Centre; Rabbi Daniel Smith – National Imams and Rabbis Council; Harun Rashid Khan – Secretary-General, Muslim Council of Britain; Sue Williams – Borough Commander, Tower Hamlets; Shaykh Abdul Qayum – Imam of East London Mosque; Cllr Sirajul Islam – Deputy Mayor, Tower Hamlets Council; Oliver McTernan – Forward Thinking; Sabby Dhalu – Co-convenor, Stand up to Racism; Catriona Robertson – Director, Christian Muslim Forum; Muttalip Unluer – Turkish Religious Foundation UK; Abdelgani Idris – Afro African Association; Secretary-General, Eastern Sudan Association in Britain (comprises Eritrean, Ethiopian, Somali communities); Rabbi Jonathan Wittenberg – Senior Rabbi, New North London Synagogue.

2. Link to pictures from the press conference: https://we.tl/58F8TplnYO

3. A link to the event live video can be found online here: https://www.facebook.com/eastlondonmosque/videos/10155371578801882/