Staying safe in troubled times | action for peace

hate-crimeWith reports that hate crime on the grounds of religion or belief is on the rise in London, here are some useful contacts & sources of information and support which we can pass on to our networks.

Any hate crime, whether against a person or a place of worship, should immediately be reported to the police, calling 999 in an emergency.  Police contacts in each borough are listed here.  Third party reporting services (for those who prefer to report via a specialist organisation) are listed here.  Hate Crime Forums are active in many boroughs.

Two specialist organisations monitor anti-Muslim and anti-Jewish incidents.  They also offer support, advice and information for protecting individuals and religious buildings.  They are the Community Security Trust (for synagogues and Jewish communities) and Tell Mama (for Islamic centres and Muslim communities).  Both organisations offer security updates.

peace_bird_webThe violent conflicts in the Middle East are rightly causing a great deal of concern and distress across all communities in London.  Whilst speaking out privately and publicly, there is also a strong desire – especially where there are disagreements – to sustain the excellent local relationships which exist between Londoners from different religious traditions.

The widespread goodwill and friendship between local churches, synagogues, Islamic centres, temples and gurdwaras was demonstrated recently by open iftars during Ramadan in many boroughs, as well as interfaith walks, peace pilgrimages and visits across the capital.  Where there are differences of opinion, we aim to redouble our efforts to listen, to learn, to “disagree well” and to support those seeking peaceful solutions.  In a global city such as ours, we have opportunities not only to speak out but to come together in finding common ground to pursue just and non-violent ways forward.

Several statements on the Middle East conflicts have been issued, including two by the Archbishop of Canterbury here and here, the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Muslim Council of Britain & the Women’s Interfaith Network.

Opportunities for people from different religious and belief traditions to come together in London for justice and peace include

  • Prayers for Peace in the Middle East Tuesday 5 August 4 – 5.30pm led by the Christian Muslim Forum and St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace.  “We watch the news in great distress as we see our Jewish, Christian and Muslim sisters and brothers being killed and on the receiving end of atrocities in Syria, Israel, Palestine, Iraq and Egypt. We aim, through various inter faith and peace initiatives, to model the way of peaceful dialogue while petitioning our leaders and politicians to use their influence and intervene constructively. However, clicking on internet petitions and speaking out can seem like small actions or that our voices are not being heard. What can we do?”  Register here.

Lord Michael Bates, patron of the London Peace Network, sets off on his Walk for Peace to Berlin on Tuesday 5 August from City Hall at 11am, following the Westminster Abbey commemoration of the start of WWI the previous evening.  Last year he walked for the children of Syria, this year he is walking for the child victims of conflict and war.  Join us on Tuesday to give him a good send-off.

Please add to the above – helpful information, links, events – through the comments box below.

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