Get the free Morning Headlines email for news from our reporters around the world
Sign up for our free Morning Headlines email
Faith leaders, survivors and politicians from all parties have come together to speak out against anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred in one of the first mass vigils in the UK since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict.
People stood in the cold and rain outside Downing Street and heard the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, say: “There is never anything good in the death of an innocent Israeli, there is never anything good in the death of an innocent Palestinian.”
Fighting brings “torment for families, fear for the future and pushes peace away,” he added.
The vigil was organized to help protect community relationships in the UK.
The archbishop took the stage and said he was “impressed and humbled” after hearing “extraordinary and remarkable” statements from relatives of those killed on October 7, who said they wanted peace and not hatred.
Imam Monawar Hussain (left) and Rabbi David Mason listen to Justin Welby at the vigil on Richmond Terrace
He told the crowd: “While we are here, tomorrow there will be children who are thinking about going to school in Britain who are afraid of it because they will be spat on, shouted at and hated because they are Muslim or Jewish.”
“They will have to give up their uniforms because they identify them too clearly – and that.” [is happening] in our streets.”
To applause, he added: “We are called to clean up our front door in this country, to eliminate all anti-Semitism and Islamophobia and to ensure that when we speak of peace, we have lit a light of peace here that can give.” a lighthouse somewhere else.”
The event, titled “Building Bridges, Together For Humanity,” was billed as a place to mourn the loss of life on all sides of the conflict and to stand united against anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred “in the first mass event of its kind since Hamas.” Militants entered Israel in October.
Screenwriter Jemima Goldsmith, who has Muslim and Jewish family members, and lawyer and TV personality Rob Rinder, who is of Jewish descent, were among those who joined the crowd.
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who is of Palestinian descent and has a family member who died in Gaza, told the crowd that hope must emerge from the bloodshed.
She said: “It is wonderful that so many children have been brought here today.
“We will do everything in our power to make sure this is the last time.”
Labor MP Stella Creasy said the people of Palestine and Israel were “paying the price” for politicians’ failure to find the right words to deal with the conflict.
Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood told the crowd they were standing “in the shadow of Big Ben and at a time when our politics always seem to be tribal”.
He said unfolding events in the Middle East brought with them the “serious prospect” of a “worsening humanitarian crisis” and the unacceptable loss of life on both sides required us to move beyond partisan politics.
He added that this was a time to “stand alongside other political voices and leaders from across our national community and have the courage to speak out.”
The vigil was held as new figures showed that 75 percent of people agreed that, given current tensions in the UK, it is important to bring people together to mourn all the innocent lives lost in Israel and Palestine and to oppose both anti-Semitism as well as to oppose anti-Muslim hatred.
The survey of 1,538 people, commissioned by Hope Not Hate and Together For Humanity, also found that 50 percent of people said the conflict had worsened community cohesion in the UK.
The event was billed as a place of mourning for the loss of life on all sides of the conflict
A total of 51 percent of people agreed that the war increased anti-Muslim hatred in the UK, and 56 percent agreed that the conflict increased anti-Jewish hatred. Only 11 percent and 9 percent, respectively, disagreed.
Brendan Cox, whose wife, Labor MP Jo Cox, was murdered by a right-wing extremist during the 2016 Brexit referendum campaign, was one of the organizers of the vigil.
After hosting the event, he said: “This is about sharing in our collective humanity. It’s about leaving a message: No matter where we disagree, there should be no room for hatred, anti-Semitism or Islamophobia.
“Extremism thrives when good people remain silent.
“Leaving the debate to the most extreme voices creates a culture of hate, intolerance and dehumanization.”
“Then we know there will be violence. I know this from my own family experience.
“I also know that it makes a big difference when good people step forward and challenge hate in all its forms, especially when it comes from people with whom you may disagree on other issues.”
At the end of the vigil, a minute’s silence was held and lanterns were lit.
Source : www.independent.co.uk