Paris condolences from local councils during Interfaith Week

Croydon councillor, Tony Newman, signing the book of condolence. Pic Croydon Council

Croydon councillor, Tony Newman, signing the book of condolence. Pic Croydon Council

Members of the public across local boroughs have been invited to pay their respects following the attacks on the French capital, which left at least 131 dead last Friday.

A Book of Condolence has been opened by both Lewisham and Croydon councils, which will be passed on to the French Embassy next week.

Lewisham council has a particularly close bond with France as the borough has been twinned with Antony, a suburb of Paris, since 1962.

A spokesperson for the council said: “Since we’re twinned with Antony, our staff have built up very close relationships with the French community over the years.”

He continued: “Obviously the local community are very moved by what has happened so the book is a way of allowing people to pay their respects and express their own sympathies.”

Croydon council have also opened a book of condolence, which was signed on Monday by council leader Tony Newman.

He said: “This atrocity in Paris has once again brought the reality of terrorism and war very close to home. On behalf of everyone in Croydon I would like to send our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and echo the many calls for peace and tolerance that are currently resonating around the globe.”

Religious leaders have also rallied together to condemn the terrorist attacks as part of Inter Faith week.

Imam Shakeel Begg of Lewisham Islamic Centre and Rabbi David Rome of Catford and Bromley Synagogue released a joint statement with five churches in Lewisham offering their condolences to families who had fallen victim to the hate-filled attacks.

Imam Shakeel Begg of Lewisham Islamic Centre leads prayers in London. Pic: Lewisham Islamic Centre

Imam Shakeel Begg of Lewisham Islamic Centre leads prayers in London. Pic: Lewisham Islamic Centre

In the statement they collectively declared that IS had nothing to do with the Islamic teachings of the Quran and emphasised the importance of shared values between faiths. They also appealed to communities to stand united, stay vigilant and look out for one another.

The statement was endorsed by Father Charles Pickstone of St Laurence Church, Father Alan Race of St Margaret’s Church, Father Steve Hall of St Mary’s Church, Father Philip Corbett of St Stephen’s Church and Father Douglas Bull of Holy Cross Catford.

The day before the tragic events in Paris unfolded IS also claimed responsibility for the twin bombing in Beirut which wasn’t widely reported though it killed 44 civilians and left over300 injured.

The limited reporting of this incident and similar atrocities across the Middle East was also condemned: “We are also mindful that the greater barbarism of

IS’ crimes in the Middle East, and which go largely unreported in the Western Media –including executions, maiming and rapes – are perpetuated against Muslims, the very same that IS claims to represent.”

Last year Lewisham Islamic Centre laughed off accusations that an alleged female worshipper at its Mosque had travelled to Syria to join IS by staging a day of Extremism which took the form of a cricket match with extremely tasty food, extremely good British weather and above all, an extremely friendly atmosphere.

The Paris skyline from Montparnasse Tower.

The Paris skyline from Montparnasse Tower. Pic: Alex Jackson

If you’d like to pay your respects the Book of Condolence will be available at the Civic Suite in Catford and Croydon Town Hall.

The theme of this year’s Inter Faith Week, which runs until 21 November, is ‘Living Well Together’. To find out about events happening near you go to the Inter Faith Week map.


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