Streatham attack

After the shocking attack in Streatham this afternoon, a reminder that Faiths Together in Lambeth is holiding its annual Interfaith Harmony Breakfast on Thursday.  It is always well attended and reflects the good relationships between religious communities and the public sector in Streatham which have developed over many years.

Coronavirus

The coronavirus is in the headlines today.  Here is the latest information from London Resilience.

Hand hygiene can be important in preventing the spread of infection.

Wuhan novel coronavirus briefing, situation as at 23 January:

Background

On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of a cluster of cases of pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.

On 12 January 2020 it was announced that a novel coronavirus had been identified in samples obtained from cases and that initial analysis of virus genetic sequences suggested that this was the cause of the outbreak.

Public Health England (PHE) is currently using the name Wuhan novel coronavirus (WN-CoV), in the absence of internationally accepted names for the virus and the disease/syndrome it causes. Further information on the disease is available here.

Key messages:

  • There are currently no confirmed cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus in the UK. Health partners have been carefully monitoring the situation in Wuhan for some time and have put in place proportionate, precautionary measures.
  • The risk to the UK population has been assessed as low.
  • Based on the emerging evidence regarding case numbers, potential sources and human to human transmission, the risk to travelers to Wuhan is moderate. The UK has updated its travel advice to advise only essential travel to Wuhan.
  • PHE is working with the WHO and other international partners, have issued advice to the NHS and are keeping the situation under constant review. The NHS is well prepared to manage and treat new diseases and PHE has developed a diagnostic test becoming one of the first countries outside China to have a prototype specific laboratory test for this novel disease.
  • Enhanced monitoring is now in place from all direct flights from Wuhan to the UK (although these flights are currently cancelled). The enhanced monitoring package includes a number of measures that will help to provide advice to travelers if they feel unwell.
  • The risk to visitors to Wuhan is moderate reflecting an increase in the number of cases being identified in China and evidence that the virus has limited spread from person to person. If you are traveling to the area, you should maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene and should avoid visiting animal and bird markets or people who are ill with respiratory symptoms. Individuals should seek medical attention if they develop respiratory symptoms within 14 days of visiting Wuhan, either in China or on their return to the UK. They should phone ahead before attending any health services and mention their recent travel to the city.
  • Further information is available here and will be kept under constant review and updated accordingly.

Find a useful video on Coronavirus: what’s the difference between pandemic and epidemic here.

Statements on London Bridge attack and vigil at Guildhall Monday 11am

The London Bridge attack has left two dead and three injured.

The Inter Faith Network for the UK has issued a statement on the London Bridge attack – read it here.

Islington Faiths Forum‘s statement is below, a joint response by IFF with the Council, Safer Neighbourhood Board, Hate Crime Forum and Central North Police.

Faiths Together in Lambeth has circulated a message from Central South Police saying that they will be making reassurance visits to places of worship in Lambeth.

There is also a risk of a spike in hate crime & we are all asked to make sure any incidents are reported to the police.

Transport hubs, iconic sites, faith premises, shopping areas & high footfall areas across London will be patrolled by police officers (armed & unarmed) over the next few days to provide reassurance.

There will be a vigil in Guildhall Yard, Basinghall St, London EC2V 7HH in the City of London at 11am tomorrow (Monday).

This is likely to be the only major act of remembrance. It will be led by the chaplain to the Corporation of London.  Faith Representatives are welcome to attend: please arrive 10 minutes ahead of 11am and introduce yourself to the chaplain.

Across our network, people have been shocked to see another attack resulting in the loss of two young lives. We offer our condolences to their families and friends. Bankside residents are finding it particularly tough, reawakening memories of the 2017 London Bridge attack.  We are thinking particularly of our friends at Harper Road Mosque, Southwark Cathedral and Borough Market.

Brexit info for local churches, gurdwaras, mosques, synagogues, temples

We’ve pulled together ideas and links from our meetings and put them on a new Brexit page.  Scroll through, find what you need and let us know if we’ve missed anything or if you spot an error.  Thank you for the suggestions and pointers.

Everyone’s ideas are included: refreshing our links & knowing who to contact, where to find specific information and the importance of bringing people together & building trust while the uncertainty continues.

There are some specific links for business, supporting EU citzens, a no-deal Brexit and a round up of our safety and security advice.

Local places of worship are often a trusted source of information & support – for their members and for the wider community.  We’ll add further links & resources as we become aware of them.

Mayor of London: security for places of worship

We’ve just received an invitation from the Mayor of London’s office (the Countering Violent Extremism team at MOPAC).

The Mayor is organising a gathering on security for places of worship next Wednesday evening.

Everyone is welcome.  Please sign up so that your name is on the Guest List.  The event is free of charge.

This event will focus on extremism, but we will share information from our training course on being prepared for other threats as well.

What: Multi Faith Security Advice

Where: City Hall, SE1 2AA

When: Wednesday 8 May 5.30pm – 8.30pm

Further information is below, but remember to register in advance so that you can enter City Hall.

______________________________

The Mayor of London would like to invite you to City Hall to attend an important workshop on safety and security for places of worship on Wednesday 8th May in London’s Living Room at City Hall from 17:30 – 20:30.

This session, which is being hosted by City Hall and delivered in collaboration with Faith Associates and the Faiths Forum for London, will see specialists from civil society, the police, designing out crime experts, central government, charities sector and faith communities who will deliver advice on practical steps that can be taken to mitigate safety and security risks for places of worship premises and their worshippers.

Doors will open at 16:30 for a 17:30 start. The session will end at 20:30 which will include a networking opportunity with specialists and experts. Refreshments will be served.

The Mayor’s number one priority is keeping Londoners safe and he is doing all he can to ensure the safety and security of London’s faith community.  Tragic recent events in Christchurch, Sri-Lanka and San Diego have shown the targeting of faith communities by violent extremists and this event will share expert advice on how to mitigate this risk.

Please register for this event as spaces are limited. Please register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/multi-faith-security-advice-seminar-at-city-hall-tickets-61038372415

Sri Lanka peace walk Sat 27 April

All are welcome at this peace walk and vigil tomorrow, joining and leaving as convenient.

A silent gathering will take place opposite the Palace of Westminster at 10am, followed by a multifaith vigil at the West London Mission, Hinde Street, at 2pm. Then at 3.30pm a peace walk will make its way to the Sri Lankan High Commission at Hyde Park Gardens.  Details on the flyer above.

Brexit briefing: updated info on keeping safe

A big thank you to DS Shabnam Chaudri and colleagues for hosting our latest Brexit Briefing for local places of worship at New Scotland Yard.

We refreshed our knowledge of keeping ourselves, our buildings and the wider community safe.  The EU Exit page has been updated with links, videos and checklists which we can use to maintain and increase our resilience. There is also plenty of information for non-British EU citizens, businesses, universities, handling the media, looking after one another and reporting hate crime.

Attacks against Muslims and mosques have soared since Christchurch. We discussed how we can all keep at look out, protect each other and report hate crime of any kind. Here is a pdf of the Upstander cartoon, which is easy to circulate – what to do if someone on the bus/tube/train/street is being shouted at or receiving horrible comments. We heard many stories of people from minority faith and ethnic groups in London, including people from Eastern Europe, receiving hateful messages and online abuse. Reporting abuse and providing support is something we can all do.

Since our briefing, the earliest date for leaving the EU has shifted to 12 April.  We are keeping in touch with each other and we encourage all places of worship across the capital to strengthen their links with neighbouring churches, mosques, temples, gurdwaras & synagogues – and with their local authorities and police.  Borough faith forums are one way of supporting each other and a network to share information.

The Church of England is encouraging churches and communities to come together for tea & prayer for the country and the Brexit process.

Please contact LBFN if you would like the contact details of your local Metropolitan Police Faith Officer.  The MPS is now organised into 12 areas across London called Basic Command Units (BCUs) and Faith Officers sometimes work across their SBU or look after a smaller area.