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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 17:12 GMT 18:12 UK
Faiths unite to condemn bombings
Different faith representatives in Queen's Park, Glasgow
Different faiths were represented in Queen's Park, Glasgow
Leaders of different faiths have joined together in Glasgow to show solidarity amid fears that Muslims could face a backlash after the London bombings.

Police in Glasgow said there had been a couple of minor incidents following Thursday's blasts.

Some Muslims are advising each other not to go out alone, particularly women wearing headscarves.

On Friday, members of the Sikh, Jewish and Christian communities gathered with Muslims in the city's Queen's Park.

Brother Stephen Smyth, ecumenical officer with Glasgow Churches Together, said: "It is really important that the various faith communities stand together on an occasion like this to show that what unites us is much more important than anything which divides us.

'Indiscriminate attacks'

"We don't want people trying to create a division, it is about recognising and celebrating our differences and different cultures together."

The president of Glasgow Central Mosque, Ashraf Anjum, said Scotland's Muslim community condemned the "indiscriminate attacks on innocent people" which had left at least 50 dead in London.

"Islam is a peaceful religion and it condemns terrorism," he said.

Mohammed Younas
You imagine having more than 90 people on board and something like this happening. It is terrible
Mohammed Younas
Bus driver

"Qu'ran, the Muslim holy book, states that killing one innocent person is tantamount to killing the whole human race.

"Our heart goes out for the families who have lost their loved ones and we pray for the speedy recovery of the injured people."

There were concerns among many of those gathering for Friday prayers at the mosque that the Muslim community may become a target for anger after the London bombings.

Imran Shariff, 30, from Glasgow, said: "People may be blaming the Muslim community so we just have to be vigilant and see what happens.

"The Muslim community has established itself over the last 40 or 50 years and I hope that is not suddenly going to break down overnight."

'Colours and creeds'

Farooq Ekram pointed out that the bombs did not differentiate between people of different faiths.

"People travelling on the local transport system are of various religions and colours and creeds and this sort of thing does not distinguish between one and the other. I am sure that the wider community will realise that."

Mohammed Younas also expressed his shock at the bombings.

The bus driver said: "You imagine having more than 90 people on board and something like this happening. It is terrible."

Osama Saeed, Scottish spokesman for the Muslim Association of Britain, voiced his sorrow at the "outrage".

Muslims were advising each other not to go out alone, particularly women who could be identified by their headscarves, he said.

The death toll from the series of explosions is now at least 50.

Glasgow Central Mosque
Some Muslim leaders fear there may be reprisals

Mr Saeed said there had been fears in the Muslim community after attacks in New York and Madrid, and that this had been heightened because the London bombings were closer to home.

"In the immediate aftermath there is a lot of emotion, but the vast majority of people in this country can make the distinction between the mindless activities of a few extremists and the vast majority of people of the Muslim faith," he said.

"Most people can make the distinction, but the fear is that the right wing fringe groups try to make some capital out of this for their own ends.

"The immediate advice Muslims are giving one another is do not go out unaccompanied, particularly Muslim women identified by their headscarves."

We are trying to reassure the community that the police will do as much as we can and hope that that reassurance will make them feel safe and secure
Thomas Harrigan
Strathclyde Police

Strathclyde Police's race relations co-ordinator Thomas Harrigan said the force was aware of the potential for a possible backlash against Muslims.

He said there had been a couple of minor incidents following Thursday's attacks.

"We are trying to reassure the community that the police will do as much as we can and hope that that reassurance will make them feel safe and secure."

Mr Harrigan said the different faith groups had wanted to come together on Friday and show their solidarity.

And he added that one comment from yesterday had summed up his feelings about those behind the bombings: "These people have no God."

Lothian and Borders Police also promised to support the Muslim community.

A spokesman said: "Local Muslims are very loyal and law-abiding citizens who have no sympathy with extremist terrorists responsible for the London bombs.

"We will respond robustly to any antagonism towards them. We would appeal to people not to get involved in misguided victimisation and respect their rights."


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