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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Faith leaders meet home secretary
Charles Clarke and religious heads at the Home Office
Mr Clarke and religious leaders will meet again in a month
Charles Clarke and religious leaders have met at the Home Office to discuss a response to the bombings in London.

Faith representatives included Sir Iqbal Sacranie from the Muslim Council of Britain, Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.

After the meeting, the home secretary warned against any Muslim backlash and urged all faiths to stand united.

He said the leaders agreed "that there should be no panic response of any kind to the terrible events of [Thursday]."

The response should be to ensure that those who try and destroy our multi-faith community should themselves not be able to succeed
Charles Clarke
Home secretary

Mr Clarke said: "The power of their statements is to state that faith is important in our society and that all faiths have respect for other faiths, and that by working together we can address the problems of society in an effective way."

He said they agreed "that the response should be to ensure that those who try and destroy our multi-faith community should themselves not be able to succeed."

Mr Clarke added there were only "very, very minor" indications of any backlash to the bombings and that the police would be looking at the issue.

The home secretary and religious leaders will meet again in a month.

Friday prayers

Earlier, Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawala called on worshippers to pray for victims at Friday prayers.

Leaders from around the UK's Muslim communities will gather in London to discuss what to do next.

Church leaders are already working with Muslim organisations to ensure their congregations are united against any possible anti-Islamic backlash.

Mr Bunglawala said that mosques up and down the UK would be reiterating to their Friday prayers congregations that their help was needed in catching those behind the attacks.

But he said the worst thing that Muslims could do was stay at home and hide away.

"By all means exercise caution, but people should be going to work and doing as they would normally do. To stay at home would send the wrong message," he said.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, a smaller group, said that Muslim women in headscarves could fall prey to vigilante attacks.

Sir Iqbal Sacranie, head of the Muslim Council of Britain said he utterly condemned the attacks.

"These terrorists, these evil people, want to demoralise us as a nation and divide us. All of us must unite in helping the police to hunt these murderers down," he said.

Attack aftermath

Sir Iqbal admitted "there may well be elements who want to exploit this tragedy and incite hatred".

Faith leaders in the East End have prepared for the aftermath of a terror attack in London.

The Bishop of Stepney, Stephen Oliver, and Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari, the chairman of the East London Mosque, spoke together outside the Royal London Hospital saying the East End and London must remain united in the face of terror.

When something like this happens people are at first afraid, and then people get angry
Stephen Oliver
Bishop of Stepney

Dr Bari said "We're just shocked and horrified by what has happened. I spoke to the congregation at the mosque and tried to calm their fears and told them they must remain vigilant.

"We have worked together with the communities in the East End for many years and we must continue doing so."

Bishop Oliver said: "When something like this happens people are at first afraid, and then people get angry.

"There's a great deal of speculation in this atmosphere. We are determined that whatever the reaction it is one that unites the different faith communities."





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