Together Stronger Candlelight Vigil to Restore Peace and Unity in Redbridge
A candlelight peace vigil will be held from 7pm outside Ilford Town Hall on Tuesday 22nd June 2017.
The event organised by the British Pakistani Christian Association and East Ilford Betterment Partnership, brings together people of all faiths and none in an attempt to restore peace in London.
A two hour unity summit took place last night at Clementswood Community Centre, after a recent spate of arrests in Ilford linked to the London terror attack and Finsbury Park Mosque attack.
Several key guests were in attendance at the meeting including, Sheikh Khalid, Imam at the Albayan Welfare Centre on Green Lane, Mark Glazer Chairman of the London Community Watch Trust, Sajid Hussain Ambassador of Peace of PEP (Peace Education Program) of Minhaj ul Quran International, Pastor Chris Gorman, Potter House Christian Fellowship Holloway Road, Bashir Choudhry from the League of British Muslims. Support was also provided by Ranbir Singh of the Hindu Human Rights Group, Pastor Charles Adoccu Likewise Church and Upkar Rai of the British Sikh Council.
Participants at the meeting felt that a robust programme was required to relieve community tensions and division and to remind people of our common humanity.
Wilson Chowdhry, Chairman of the East Ilford Betterment Partnership, said:
"Britain has suffered a torrid last 4 months with the Westminster Terrorist Attack, Manchester Bomb attack and London Bridge terrorist attack all highlighting the festering extremism that has raised resulted in Britain adopting our highest level of Terrorism threat level 'Critical' on at least two occasions.
More on UK security threat levels can be read by (clicking here)
"The recent retaliatory attack on a mosque in Finsbury Park by lone wolf attacker Darren Osbourne illustrates an alarming polarisation within British Citizens. Though Mr Osbourne was from Cardiff and not London the impact of his attack hits Londoners worst.
"Coupled with the soul searching and grief that has consumed Londoners after the Grenfell Tower blaze tragedy, it is clear to me that public confidence and morale has reached it's lowest ebb in London."
Mr Chowdhry, added:
"East london has been implicated as an area within which the trio of terrorists involved in the London Bridge terrorist attack resided. Moreover, news that terrorist Youssef Zaghba lived in Ilford since 2015 and that a video caught the terrorist trio entering Ummah Gym in Ilford where it is believed they planned and plotted their attack, has shocked our community.
"Our local community has been stirred to action we do not want our wonderful borough of Redbridge to have its reputation sullied by the acts of depravity of a few individuals.
"Intolerance of any nature is unwarranted and only serves to cause grief and anxiety. A united community is a strong community in which extremists have no power or authority. We must strive to improve the bonds between us that we can better shield ourselves from the haters.
"This is why we call people of all faiths and no faith to stand in unity with us at our vigil and oppose violence and hatred of any nature."
Sheikh Khalid, Imam of the Al Bayan Welfare Centre on Green Lane, said:
"When we are cut we are bleed the same colour. All mankind is the creation of Allah and we must put every effort into showing love and compassion to one another, as we share such a common bond.
"The recent acts of violence in the UK have served to deepen fears in our communities but by standing shoulder to shoulder we send out a defiant message that we will not be cowed by extremists."
Wilson Chowdhry, visited the site of the Finsbury Park attack only hours after the incident. Whilst there he prayed for peace to be restored in London. He also joined the multi faith peace vigil with three other volunteers later that evening and laid a wreath of flowers from the British Pakistani Christian Association.