Brexit Briefing | Thursday 7 March

Book your place here. Join us on 7 March 6pm at City Hall, SE1 2AA, to hear the latest information and to share ideas on building a positive environment together in our neighbourhoods & boroughs.

How should we prepare for 29 March, regardless of the outcome of negotiations?

We are aware that many of us – representing organisations and as individuals – have questions and concerns about the impact of EU Exit, regardless of whether this is a ‘no deal’ situation, or what ‘deal’ is agreed upon.  We are also aware that these questions and concerns may be around tangible issues, or less tangible issues, and may be objective and real, or mostly arise from perceptions.

You are invited to a briefing and discussion on EU Exit on Thursday 7th March from 6pm-8pm.

This will be an opportunity to share these questions and concerns with each other, and also to hear from key people from public agencies such as the Police, local and central government.  We will also aim to guide participants to sources of clear information and to share ideas together for how to build a positive, welcoming and hopeful environment in our communities.

The following questions and concerns may be included:

* Possible spikes in hate crime
* Concerns about possible shortages of food, fuel and medicines
* Staffing issues in our own organisations and in public services
* Residence and status issues for our members
* Issues for students
* Concerns that other more important issues have been side-lined as a result of the unhealthy focus on Brexit

There is no cost and all are invited to this meeting. 

Please forward this invitation on to others who might find it useful. 

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LBFN leads on training and exercising for the Faith Sector Panel of London Resilience

Our training Safe | Secure | Resilient will be available for Londoners again later this year.

We are grateful to City Hall for hosting this event.

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Parsons Green

Message from Chief Superintendent David Stringer at the Metropolitan Police:

As you may have seen on the news this morning, police were called at approximately 08:20hrs on Friday, 15 September to Parsons Green Underground Station following reports of a fire on a London tube train.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, the senior national coordinator for CT policing, has declared it a terrorist incident. Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service and British Transport Police attended the scene, along with colleagues from London Fire Brigade and London Ambulance Service. At present we are aware of a number of people who have suffered injuries.

It is too early to confirm the cause of the fire, which will be subject to the investigation that is now underway by the Met’s Counter Terrorism Command.

The station remains cordoned off and we are advising people to avoid the area.

We would encourage anyone who has information that would assist detectives is urged to contact the hotline 0800 789 321; if it’s an emergency always call 999.

Anyone with images from the scene is asked to upload them to www.ukpoliceimageappeal.co.uk
We urge the public to remain calm but alert and if you have any concerns, see or hear anything suspicious then contact police.

More updates will be available at 11:30hrs today, Friday, 15 September, when Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley will brief the press at New Scotland Yard.

The Archdeacon of London, chair of the Faith Sector Panel of London Resilience said, “S Dionis Church was open for the public to go in for tea, coffee, spaces & rest, but is now inside the cordon and is closed. The clergy there are seeking to help as they can.”

Cllr Sue Fenimore, Deputy Leader of the Council and a key person in bringing religious communities together in Hammersmith & Fulham, is at Parsons Green and said that it’s wonderful that people come together in such horrendous circumstances.

Message from New Scotland Yard | places of worship | hate crime

Chief Superintendent Dave Stringer is a longstanding friend of LBFN’s and is currently Head of Community Engagement for the Metropolitan Police.  He has sent this message so that it can be passed on to congregations, colleagues and networks this weekend.

“Over the next few days, communities of different faiths will congregate across London to celebrate their holy days. We know many will reflect on the terrible events of last Saturday evening in their readings and prayers but also that some will feel worried and vulnerable about their safety as they gather in their places of worship.

“To help support these communities, we have increased the number of officers on the streets to reassure local people that they are able to go about their daily lives in peace and without fear of harassment or intimidation.

“Dedicated Ward Officers are making contact with their local places of worship to encourage them to report hate crimes and to reassure those who congregate there that the police will take these crimes seriously.

“The Metropolitan Police has made more than 25 arrests for hate crime offences since Saturday.

“We have long since recognised the impact of hate crime on communities and the hidden nature of this crime, which remains largely under-reported. The MPS stands together with policing partners, colleagues and groups to investigate all hate crime allegations, support victims and their families, and bring perpetrators to justice.

“We would appeal to anyone who witnesses or suffers any hate of any type to immediately report it so that action can quickly be taken and catch those responsible.”

Hate crime can be reported through 999 in an emergency, by dialling 101 in a non-emergency, directly at a police station, through the MOPAC Hate Crime app or through community reporting methods such as Tell MAMA, Galop, or the CST.

Total Policing is the Met’s commitment to be on the streets and in your communities to catch offenders, prevent crime and support victims. We are here for London, working with you to make our capital safer.

Safe and secure – together

New Scotland Yard did us proud yesterday - thank you Commander Chishty, C Supt Dave Stringer & Insp Andy Burton

New Scotland Yard did us proud yesterday – thank you Commander Chishty, C Supt Dave Stringer & Insp Andy Burton

With officers from NYPD joining us (true!), and people from over 70 temples, Islamic centres, gurdwaras, churches and synagogues across London, we had a great time yesterday at New Scotland Yard.

We learned a lot – from each other, from our guest speakers Tell Mama, Community Security Trust and Ecclesiastical Insurance and from the Met themselves.

How do we, practically, keep our buildings and people safe and secure?  How do we mind each other’s backs – co-ordinating support across the places of worship in our neighbourhood?  What about social media?  Lone workers?  Or if disaster hits London – disease, flood, attack?

Bespoke, tailored training is on its way, courtesy of LBFN’s Safety & Security Social Lab, working with the Metropolitan Police and partners.  Let us know if you’re interested.  We’ll upload the checklists and presentations soon.

Thank you Bharti Taylor, Steve Miller, RashidAli Laher, Surinder Singh Jandu & Archdeacon Paul Wright for setting the scene and to everyone for searching questions and positive ideas for the next steps.

It wasn’t all doom & gloom or death by PowerPoint – LBFN meetings are nothing if not very social, and the cream cakes all disappeared.

Your police, your say – borough roadshows

435_200_large_stripMOPAC (Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime) has announced the first 15 dates for this year’s borough roadshows.  The Deputy Mayor for Policing & Crime will be visiting each borough to update local communities on progress and to answer questions.  See the dates below and follow the links – places are on a first come, first served basis.  Roadshows in the remaining boroughs will take place this autumn.

Following the verdict on the inquest into the death of Mark Duggan in Haringey, the appointment of an ‘Engagement Tzar’ was announced by the Metropolitan Police at the Home Affairs Select Committee.  LBFN has been told that the name of the officer appointed won’t be released until a framework for this work is agreed.

Faith Forum for London’s conference last April on policing included several workshops on diversifying the police service in London and on improving local relationships.  A change in policy on borough-based community-police engagement groups has led to concerns that engagement and partnership work will become more difficult, both for the police and for local communities.  LBFN co-facilitated one of the conference workshops, many LBFN members attended and it remains a topic of interest.  London Churches Social Action Network is discussing engagement with the police at its next meeting – contact Canon Steven Saxby if you’d like to attend.

London’s Islamic Centres

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner issued a statement this evening, following two suspicious fires in Barnet and Bromley.

“These are difficult times for London’s communities,” he said.

“The Met is now investigating suspicious fires at two locations within the Islamic community which have happened in the past few days. Fortunately no one has been hurt, but we know that fires can often prove fatal.”

He said he wanted to reassure people that the police were “using our full range of policing tactics to protect sites that might be vulnerable”.

“In all boroughs across London, there is an increased police presence around locations that might be at risk. We will maintain a 24/7 guard of uniformed officers at sites we consider to be at greatest risk,” he said.

“We should not allow the murder of Lee Rigby to come between Londoners. The unified response we have seen to his death across all communities will triumph over those who seek to divide us.”

A BBC report gives further details.  Safety advice remains in place.  Please contact your local police if you have any safety concerns.

The positive response by local religious groups and leaders to recent events has been swift and strongly supportive of our local Islamic centres.

Members of Barnet Multi Faith Forum are supporting colleagues at the Bravanese Centre and the Darul Uloom School in Chislehurst will be receiving assistance from the newly formed Interfaith Forum in Bromley.

Religious communities in Woolwich have been rallying round and showing their solidarity.  The Director of the Greenwich Islamic Centre (Woolwich Mosque), Dr Tariq Abbasi, and Revd Malcolm Torry (Greenwich Faith Community Leaders) both spoke on the BBC’s Sunday programme.  The Islamic Centre welcomed well-wishers to tea on Friday 31st May and the Bishop of Woolwich, Archbishop Kevin McDonald, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, local MP Nick Rainsford, Sadiq Khan MP, Julie Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of Britian and many others joined Dr Abbasi in laying flowers in memory of Lee Rigby at Woolwich Barracks.  You can find photos of the occasion here and there were many press and TV reports.  Afterwards Dr Abbasi sent a message of thanks,

“Thank you to everyone who visited the Greenwich Islamic Centre on Friday afternoon and for the support that the Centre and community has received.”

LBFN was to have met this Thursday.  Everyone has been very busy so we will postpone a full meeting, but all are welcome at our office for light refreshments at 9 St John’s Crypt, 73 Waterloo Road, SE1 8TY at 2.30pm on Thursday 13th June to reflect on recent events.  Please let LBFN know if you plan to join us.  There will be time to move to Westminster Cathedral for those attending Cardinal Tauran’s prayers for peace with leaders of different faiths at 4.30/5.00pm.

UPDATE 10th JUNE – FAITHS FORUM FOR LONDON’S STATEMENT

Suspected Arson Attacks – United London Stands

We, as representatives of nine of London’s faith communities, stand united in solidarity in our disgust at the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich, the suspected arson attacks on an Islamic centre in Muswell Hill and a Muslim school in Chislehurst.

None of these are a legitimate means to express grievance. None of these are representative of a faith that we recognise. None of these show pride in being British.

We know religion and we know British pride. It is about a shared commitment to the common good of our city and our country. That is our mission. That is our faith.

We welcome the comments of the Mayor of London, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner and many of London’s leaders, condemning this violence and calling for unity.

In spite of the attempts of extremists to divide us, it is clear that victory will ultimately lie with peace, hope and love.

United London Stands.

FFL’s Faith and Policing Conference 23 April

Met_PoliceOn the morning of 23 April, Faiths Forum for London is teaming up with the Metropolitan Police to host a conversation about the relationship between the police and faith communities.

FFL’s Director, Phil Rosenberg, says

This initiative comes at the request of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, who will be among the participants.  Topics covered will include:

Diversifying the Met
Tackling Hate Crime
Faith Responses to Major Incidents
Enhancing Local Relationships
Addressing Youth Crime

Many of us will be interested in all these topics and will be able to contribute from our own local experience & expertise.

LBFN has been asked to contribute to the Enhancing Local Relationships breakout group.  I’m hoping an officer from the British Transport Police will also be able to join us.

More information about the conference is on FFL’s website.

Download the Registration Form here and return it to FFL at info@faithsforum4london.org.