Sheffield Interfaith wishes to express deepest sympathy for those injured and killed in the shootings at Garissa University in Kenya last week, most of whom were singled out merely because they were identified as Christian. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those, of whatever belief or faith, that have been left so bereaved through these unjust actions. We are appalled by violence carried out either in the name of, or against, any religion and recognise that the vast majority of people, whether Christians or Muslim or whatever, believe in loving their neighbours and showing peace towards one another.
Rev Gareth Jones and 4 members of Shirley House Interfaith Centre committee (representing Christian, Sufi and Pagan traditions) were welcomed by 9 of the brothers of the Uk Islamic Mission, based on Abbeydale road who are all long-established representatives of the Muslim community in this area of Sheffield. Theyhave recently refurbished their ground floor room, and are already developing an Islamic study library, with very nice bookcases. They meet regularly to study the Qu’ran together and are developing some youth outreach activities.
We talked about the types of activities that happen in our two different centres, the similarities and differences in our memberships, and possible ways to develop further contact- and we all enjoyed some excellent chicken curry, chappatis and cake.
I writing to you today to say that I am organising a remembrance event on Sunday at Barkers Pool at 2pm for a short vigil for the three students who were murdered because they were Muslim in America.
I think the way in which this has been reported here and elsewhere has been dehumanising, and with utter contempt for the double standard that say Muslims need to come out and denounce any acts of terrorism or extremisms. However if it is a clear hate crime against Muslim for being Muslim is carried out – the message we receive is that if Muslims are killed for being Muslims it doesn’t matter, their lives don’t matter. Why would they if all you ever hear is that they are terrorist or extremist or killers. I wonder if Eric Pickles will be writing to people to let them know to ensure that they don’t go teaching people that Muslim are different and that their lives don’t matter.
I make no apology for the way I feel about this or the stand that I am taking. If I can stand there with others to denounce violence and hatred carried out by Muslims. If I can honour the sanctity of life for those who didn’t think I mattered in the first place (Hebdo magazine) well I can damn well stand there for three students who were aid workers, who had just started their married life, who had just wanted to live and do every day things that most people want to do.
I will email you all detail and the hope is that it will start at 2pm not lots of speeches. The theme of them should be no to Islamaphobia and yes, ‘Muslim lives Matter’ and yes to community solidarity, when they are killed in cold blood. This will not be a political hot potato it honouring those who lives were taken out of hate.
If you wish to say a few words on the day let me know. I am not expecting or demanding anyone should be there who doesn’t wish to be there- I will be there.
Please feel under no obligation to stand with me as I was under no obligation to stand with anyone else when I did.