|Sheikh Ibrahim Moghra|
Leicester's Muslim Leaders condemn Woolwich soldier killing
by Dan Martin
Muslim leaders in Leicester have condemned the murder of a soldier in London yesterday in a suspected terrorist attack.
The serviceman was killed in the street near army barracks in Woolwich yesterday afternoon.
Shocked passers-by then took video footage of the two suspected culprits - one of whom said the victim had been attacked because British troops had killed Muslims everyday.
Witnesses reported the soldier was hacked to death after being run over. The suspected attackers were then shot and injured by police before being taken to hospital.
Today religious leaders in Leicester stressed the incident was in no way representative of Muslims here.
Ibrahim Mogra, imam at three city mosques and the assistant secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain said: “We are shocked at this killing as is every decent human being. It was an appalling killing on our streets in broad daylight.
“One of the culprits claims to have done it in the name of God and Islam. Absolutely not. How dare he use the name of God to try to justify this terrible act. There is nothing in Islam that justifies vigilantism.”
Mr Mogra urged people to remain calm in the aftermath of the killing.He said: “We must allow the authorities to carry out their investigation.
“We should be vigilant against those who would use this awful act to try to divide the community. We cannot allow hate-filled people from any side to drive a wedge between us.
“It must be clear that the vast majority of Muslims stand side by side with all other communities in condemning this brutal killing.”
THe Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) has also condemned the killing in “the strongest terms possible.”
Leicester-based FMO spokesman Suleman Nagdi said "This is a most truly appalling crime.
“Reports about the graphic nature of the incident with the use of a machete to commit murder in full public view, makes this case even more reprehensible. As the situation unfolds, our thoughts are with the family of the victim.
Mr Nagdi added: “The FMO condemns violence for whichever cause in all its hideous guises and it is our sincere hope that the perpetrators of this horrendous crime are brought to justice.
“Muslims historically through the first and second World Wars have contributed greatly to the defence of our country.
“I appeal for all communities to remain calm in the face of this attack and not to allow this evil crime to divide communities in our country.”
The Bishop of Leicester, Rt Rev Tim Stevens, has also called on communities to remain calm following the murder.
He said: “I am deeply distressed by reports of this barbaric attack which took place in front of passers-by in a street in South London.
“It has been confirmed that the victim was a serving soldier and the Prime Minister has said that there were "strong indications that it is a terrorist attack".
“The police now need to be allowed to do their job and ascertain the facts behind what took place.
“Individuals who commit such crimes in the name of religion or politics stand at odds with the compassionate shared values which we stand for as a society.
“Such acts aim to divide our communities and I call upon everyone to remain calm and united.
“At this deeply tragic time, my prayers and thoughts are for the victim and those who knew him, but also those many ordinary people traumatised by this shocking and wholly unjustified event.”