COMMENTING on Friday March 15 on the murders in Christchurch, New Zealand, Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville says: “The thoughts of the whole Council and Hackney residents are with the people of Christchurch today and the families, friends and victims of this horrific and heartbreaking attack.

“This attack was a deliberate and targeted attack on innocent people as they went to pray.

“Terrorism, extremism and hatred take many forms and in Hackney we are determined to tackle and stamp out hatred wherever it exists.

“We know that many people, particularly in our Muslim communities, may be feeling anxious at this time. We have spoken with the police who are conducting reassurance patrols in and around our Mosques and other communities today and over the weekend.

“Hackney is proud to be a diverse borough, home to people of all faiths and none. We are committed to protecting Hackney’s open and inclusive community spirit and believe that there should be no place for hate in Hackney.

“We want to reassure the Muslim communities in Hackney and beyond that we will always celebrate this diversity.”


Munaf Zeena

THE Mayor also attended and spoke at the vigil on March 15 – ‘Standing in Solidarity in Hackney Against Hate – Reflecting on Christchurch, New Zealand’ which was held at North London Muslim Community Centre (NLMCC), Cazenove Rd N16.

It was also attended by main faith leaders, a number of Labour councillors, Cllr Clare Potter, Speaker (civic mayor) of Hackney, Cllr Etti, No Place for Hate in Hackney Champion, and the MP for Hackney South, Meg Hillier, along with concerned residents.

Mayor Glanville, said that ‘all of us, whether we share a faith or not, believe that places of worship should be a safe sanctuary, places where people come together in prayer, love and togetherness …

… our response includes reassurance and support today and in the coming days, beyond that it must be about more openness, more interfaith work, more kindness and more recognition of that shared humanity that others want to negate.’

Munaf Zeena, Chair of NLMCC and Co-Chair of Muslim Jewish Forum, said:¬†‘We should express our views in a peaceful democratic way …’ He added – never think you’re alone. We stand together in such times.

He said that NLMCC would be opening a phone helpline for those affected by the attack and the specific way in which it circulated across social media.

Rabbi Herschel Gluck

Rabbi Herschel Gluck,¬†President of Shomrim and Co-Chair of Muslim Jewish Forum, said that all lives matter. Each human being is of infinite human value. God made us all the same. We died 49 times today. He underlined – as the saying goes …ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us. We’re all human. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt.

Meg Hillier MP, also speaking on behalf of Diane Abbott, MP, commented:¬† ‘When we hear someone say something islamophobic, or hear someone say something anti-semitic, when we hear someone make a casual racist remark, we don’t just stand by – we challenge it.’

She added – But more than that – educate people, tell them about your faith, your country, your background, what it feels like for you.

She called for a minutes silence to remember those in Christchurch who had died, and their families and friends.


The Mayor and MP with councillors and others
Cllr Humaira Garasia – ‘Those who hate are a minority’
Cllr Clare Potter, Speaker (civic mayor) of Hackney – ‘we will not allow our lives together to be eroded by terrorists’
Rev Rosemia Brown, Anglican Dean of Hackney – your neighbour is the one you stop to help as in the story of the Good Samaritan who helped a stranger.

Imam Mohammed from Cazenove Road Mosque, gave a recitation of the Quraan

Photos: Ian Rathbone
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