Muslims join Christians in solidarity at Bethnal Green church service for murdered French priest

Muslim and Christian leaders outside St John on Bethnal Green
Solidarity: Muslim and Christian leaders outside St John. Photograph: @FaithMattersUK

Muslims and Christians made a “statement of solidarity” by attending a church service together at St John on Bethnal Green to mark the killing of a French priest in Normandy.

Father Jacques Hamel was last month stabbed to death at a church altar by two Islamist militants in the small town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray.

The attackers burst in and forced the 85-year-old to kneel down before slitting his throat whilst shouting in Arabic.

The Sunday service on 21 August was led by the Rector of St John’s, the Reverend Prebendary Alan Green, who chairs the Tower Hamlets’ Inter-Faith Forum.

The forum brings together local religious leaders and prominent community figures from the council, police and other organisations.

Rev Green said: “We wanted to make a statement of solidarity in the wake of the murder of Father Jacques Hamel.

“We have shown that Christians can open their doors to Muslims and have nothing to fear. We can support one another in mutual respect.”

In a message for extremists, he added: “Whether or not they are doing so in the name of religion, they are not following the tenets of Christianity or Islam.

“We must not allow ourselves to be undermined by these violent acts, no matter how much horror we feel.”

Rev Green leads the service at St John on Bethnal Green with Muslims in attendance
Mutual respect: Rev Green led the Sunday service. Photograph: @FaithMattersUK

Muslims in attendance included Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khan, Mohammed Amin, Chairman of the Conservative Muslim Forum, and Dr Mamadou Bocoum, a member of the Muslim Law Council UK.

The show of unity was organised by Faith Matters, a charity set up in 2006 to promote religious cohesion in the face of extremism.

Commenting on the service, the organisation said on Twitter: “We need to stand together and celebrate all that binds us together. Our shared experiences are those that inspire.”

1 Comment

  1. Muhammad Haque on Wednesday 24 August 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Quoting you (“East End Citizen”):

    “The forum brings together local religious leaders and prominent community figures from the council, police and other organisations.”

    What do they define as “prominent”?
    “community leaders”?

    Your piece does not mention racism.
    Nor to racists in post in the name of the local Community.
    Nor is there any reference to accountability by the elected and publicly paid for careerists in Tower Hamlets and in the name of Tower Hamlets.

    I was at a “community” meeting held in the Westferry Road on Tuesday 23 August 2016.
    I met a few persons there that I had known over the years; others I saw for the first time and what struck me was the relevance of what people were saying. Not their “prominence” as “community leaders”

    Most of the discussion was about racism and in particular in the accommodation shown by Tower Hamlets Council regime/s towards the convicted racist killer of Shiblu Rahman in Bow E3 in 2001.

    Regardless of the “lack of prominence” of the speakers making comments in relation to the role of Tower Hamlets Council, there was absolutely unanimity among those present that
    what the local Council should do is to be accountable for its behaviour to the local Community – regardless of ethnicity, faith or party political affiliations.

    Concern was expressed and shared about the misleading statements being issued by or in the name of the local Council whose role was openly condemned by speakers.

    It was also common ground among all speakers that the current councillors on Tower Hamlets Council were failing to stand up for ethics, mortality and accountability.

    Objectively speaking and on independently verifiable evidence, that meeting held in the Westferry Road on Tuesday 23 August 2016 had more real links with the realities of what is going on in Tower Hamlets and how the local Tower Hamlets Council is, has been being negligent to its serious duties to the Community than any of the tick box events sponsored and promoted by the authors of the Agenda of the Status Quo.

    2050 Hrs GMT London Wednesday 24 August 2016


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