On a two-day visit to Lancashire, senior representatives from the Board of Deputies of British Jews have declared their “absolute and resolute solidarity” with Muslim communities in Britain, following the terrorist attack in New Zealand, which has left 49 Muslims dead.
Speaking from Raza Jamia Masjid, a significant newly-built mosque in Accrington, Board of Deputies Senior Vice-President Sheila Gewolb said: “I am absolutely horrified to hear of this terrorist attack on Muslims in New Zealand. The murder of innocent people at prayer is a callous, depraved act. By visiting mosques and Muslim communities in Lancashire, we are saying loud and clear that the Jewish community are allies and friends to Muslims. We are leaving Lancashire now with even stronger relationships with our Muslim friends. We will continue fighting anti-Muslim hatred no matter where it arises, as we have done before, whether it is on the street, in the media, or in politics.”
The previous day, Board of Deputies Vice-President Edwin Shuker held further meetings with the Lancashire Council
of Mosques, the leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council Cllr Mohammed Khan, and equalities expert Cllr Saima Afzal MBE. Mr Shuker was accompanied by Deputy Karen Maxwell, and Interfaith Officer Anthony Silkoff.
The President of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, has also reacted to the events in New Zealand:
She said: “We are horrified by this sickening terrorist attack against Muslims at mosques in New Zealand. To the victims, the survivors and their families, together with Muslims around the world who have been targets of rising hatred, whipped up by media hostility, we express our absolute and resolute solidarity.”