Hindu-Muslim joint statement appeals for peace in Leicester

Das said the recent violence and attacks on individuals was heartbreaking for the entire community and not part of their faiths…reports Asian Lite News

Days after violent clashes erupted in the eastern English city of Leicester over an India-Pakistan cricket match, leaders of the Hindu and Muslim communities in the city issued a joint statement appealing for harmony. Calling for immediate cessation of violence, the community leaders demanded that “inciters of hatred” leave the city alone.

President of Leicester’s ISKCON temple Pradyumna Das read out the joint statement outside a mosque.

“This is a statement of unity between the Hindu and Muslim community. We, the family of Leicester stand in front of you, not only as Hindus and Muslims, but as brothers and sisters. Our two faiths have lived harmoniously in this wonderful city for over half a century. We arrived in this city together. We faced the same challenges together.

Das said the recent violence and attacks on individuals was heartbreaking for the entire community and not part of their faiths.

“We fought our racist haters togethers, and collectively made this city a beacon of diversity. That is why, today, we are saddened and heartbroken to see the eruption of tension and violence, physical attacks on innocent individuals and unwarranted damage to property are not a part of a decent society, and indeed, not part of our faiths. What we have seen is not what we are about.”

“Our message to anyone that sows disharmony between us is clear: we will not let you succeed,” he said.

“We ask all to respect the sanctity of religious places, both mosques, and mandirs alike — whether provocation with loud music, flag bearing, derogatory chants, or physical attacks against the fabric of worship. This is not acceptable nor upheld by our faiths,” the statement read, adding the city has “no place for any foreign extremist ideology that causes division”.

On August 28, a series of violence triggered in Leicester city after India won the Asia Cup T20 match against Pakistan.

Several videos and reports have also been circulating on social media about Pakistani organised gangs seen vandalising and terrorising Hindus in the city.

According to the Leicestershire Police, a 20-year-old man has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon during clashes.

“The sentence is reflective of the fact that this was a serious offence and he has ended up with time in prison,” said Rob Nixon, Temporary Chief Constable at Leicestershire Police.

“We will not stand for this unrest in our city. There is an extensive policing operation ongoing, acting on information and reports of gatherings and offering community reassurance. Be reassured: we are working to keep you safe and to arrest and bring to justice those that are causing harm in our communities,” he said.

The Indian High Commission in London has condemned the violence and called for the protection of those affected. “We strongly condemn the violence perpetrated against the Indian Community in Leicester and vandalisation of premises and symbols of Hindu religion. We have strongly taken up this matter with the UK authorities and have sought immediate action against those involved in these attacks. We call on the authorities to provide protection to the affected people,” the High Commission’s statement read.

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