Representatives of five local faith communities have held a peace vigil in response to last week’s Westminster terrorist attack, in which four victims and the attacker died.
At 12 o’clock on Wednesday 29 March – a week since the fatal events in London – Muslim, Christian, Baha’i, Jewish and Hindu members of Surrey Heath Faith Forum gathered in solidarity on the steps of the Surrey Heath Council Offices in Camberley. They were joined by Michelle Carroway from Surrey Police.
Sending out a deep message of public unity, Revd Susan Bolen, curate for the parish of Frimley and Churches of GU16 representative, delivered a Statement of Peace written and signed by the faith forum. Condemning the attack and calling for love and solidarity in its wake, it reads:
Statement of Peace
“We, as members and representatives of faith groups in Surrey Heath, are deeply saddened at the loss of innocent lives and the misery caused by the recent tragic event in London. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and to all who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by this atrocity.
“We stand united for peace and respect for all people, of all faiths and none. We believe in offering love in the presence of hatred and solidarity in the face of division. We encourage all people, and especially those in authority, to seek careful discernment during these challenging times and to pursue peace and unity, for this is what honours the God of all our faith traditions.”
After a minute’s silence to remember those killed in the attack, each faith community read a passage from their sacred text or tradition and said a prayer. The seventeen-strong multi-faith group then lit candles of hope and remembrance.
Kauser Akhtar, Surrey Faith Links Adviser for the Diocese of Guildford, said: “We wanted a way to express our profound sorrow at the events in Westminster last week and to openly demonstrate our rejection of such atrocities being committed in the name of religion – terrorism has NO religion.”