Redbridge faith leaders appeal for calm and unity after Woolwich terrorist attack

Police activity close to the scene following the attack last Wednesday. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Police activity close to the scene following the attack last Wednesday. Picture: Nick Ansell/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Redbridge faith leaders have condemned the “barbaric” attack on a British soldier in Woolwich yesterday and appealed for calm and unity.

The man, who has not yet been identified, was hacked to death in a busy street in front of passers-by at around 2.20pm.

One of the attackers was filmed moments after the vicious attack claiming it was “because Muslims are dying every day”.

Standing with knives in his bloodied hands, he continued: ““You think politicians are going to die?”

“No, it’s going to be the average guy - like you - and your children.

“So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so you can all live in peace”.

The two attackers, who were reportedly armed with weapons including a meat cleaver, knife and gun, were shot by police and remain under guard in hospital.

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Speculation around the attack clashes between police and far-right group the English Defence League in Woolwich later in the evening and reported attacks on mosques.

But Bashir Chaudhry, chairman of the Redbridge Islamic Centre and League of British Muslims said people cannot let the attack divide the community.

He added: “It was an absolutely horrific, terrible act and there was no need for it.

“These people are insane, they aren’t human.

“Our feelings and thoughts are with the family and friends of the man.”

Mr Chaudhry added that it was against Islam to kill and there was “no excuse” for the attack, whatever a person’s views.

He continued: “Britain is one of the best countries Muslims to live in – there’s tolerance and respect for all faiths, cultures, colours and communities and if someone doesn’t like that they shouldn’t be here.”

Shamshia Ali, chairman of the Redbridge Faith Forum appealed for calm and resolution for people wanting to “misuse the incident for their own purposes”.

She added: “We pray earnestly that there will be no thoughts of retaliation within the community and are working closely with Safer Communities to identify any possible areas of tension so that they can be dealt with if and when they arise.

“In Redbridge the community and communities including Redbridge Faith Forum have worked consistently to increase understanding and cooperation and we hope and pray that this dreadful incident will not derail all this good work and good will.”

Rev Jonathan Evens, from St John the Evangelist Church in Seven Kings, said: “The key thing is to focus on all the efforts that are underway to work for peace in the community.”