An open letter to our Muslim neighbours from the churches in Luton.
We want to express our shock and anger at the horrific attack on worshippers leaving mosques in Finsbury Park on Sunday evening. We understand your anger that such an attack should take place, the deep sense of vulnerability that you are feeling, and your concern at the rising tide of division and hatred in the UK as well as around Europe and beyond. We want to stand with you in expressing our unreserved condemnation of this horrific and barbarous act, and assure you of our deepest sympathies and prayers at this time.
We do not yet know much about the perpetrator of this terrible deed. However when actions are taken to indiscriminately kill and injure so as to provoke fear and terror with a political intent that is terrorism. His act of terror took place at a time when politics has regularly involved irresponsible rhetoric that divides society, when the media multiply that division, and when consequent expressions of hatred are rising.
We have now faced four terror attacks in the U.K. in recent months. These actions have been against whoever was in their way. Three were against people whatever faith, race, nation or age was in their way. This last attack was against any who appeared Muslim. However they were all essentially against us all as members of a multiracial British society and a global community. They seek to turn us against each other.
In defiance of their aims we wish to express our solidarity and commitment to build a just and fair Luton where hatred has no place and all are safe. We have stood together over these past years through challenging times, and we will continue to do so. We have much work to do together but we are confident that our relationship together will continue to grow as we go forward.
Once again we condemn all acts of violence and appeal to all who would seek to lead us into a destructive and violent spiral to follow pathways of peace. Darkness cannot defeat darkness. Only light can do that.
Please do let us know if we can stand with you practically in any way. We will be asking ourselves the same questions in days to come.
Right Reverend Richard Atkinson, Bishop of Bedford
Monsignor Kevin McGinnell, Roman Catholic Dean for Luton.
Rev David Kesterton, Vicar of All Saints with St Peters, Bury Park
Mike Jones, Vicar, St Marys Luton.
Peter Adams, Director, St Marys Centre for Peace and Reconciliation.
Rev Joe Pienaar, Vicar of St Hugh’s and Area Dean of Luton
Michael Singleton, Chair, Churches Together in Luton
Anita Nancollas, County Ecumenical Development Officer Bedfordshire
Tony Thompson, Leader, Hope Church
Rev Andy Gardner, St Marys Church
Rev Chris Adams, St Marys Church
Sue Penn, Secretary, Churches Together in Luton
Alan Smith Churches Together In Luton
David Fleming Limbury Baptist Church