Statement from the CTN to its members in support of our Christian and Sri Lankan community

Today we mourn and send a message of reassurance to our Sri Lankan and Christian communities in Barnet, in light of  the deadly attacks on Christians celebrating Easter Sunday and to visitors to Sri Lanka that have so far resulted in the very sad deaths of 320 people and a further 500 who are wounded.

Our Communities Together Network continues to work with all of our diverse communities to highlight the detrimental effects of such hate crime and that this has no place in our borough. We share the message from the Barnet Multi Faith Forum that these religious attacks only reinforce our desire and commitment to work in solidarity with people of all faiths and beliefs.

Together, we in Barnet will stand strong and united against all forms of religious hatred. We will ensure that we work even harder to build Barnet’s safe and strong communities through understanding and peace.

Sri Lanka Terror Attacks

Today in Sri Lanka the world witnesses yet another unjustifiable act of hatred and violence. While people were celebrating Easter Sunday in their place of worship, they were inhumanely targeted.

As members of Barnet Multi Faith Forum we collectively agree that terrorists have no religion, they want to create division and chaos amongst those who want to live in peace. We will continue to stand together in defiance of their plans to spread unrest and hate. Our collective prayers go out to those in Sri Lanka. We stand with you and send you our sincere condolences on yet another sorry day.

Let us keep hope, let us keep faith that this evil will not prevail and the good work we do together will counter these merciless acts. 

Messages from the Faith Communities in Barnet following the tragedy in Christchurch

From Muswell Hill Synagogue, Highgate Synagogue, Crouch End Liberal Chavura and Crouch End Chabad

Solidarity with Wightman Road Mosque

Dear All,

I am sure we were all shocked to learn of the killings that took place earlier today in New Zealand, on Muslim worshippers while at Friday prayers in 2 Mosques there. This attack is simply shocking and fills us with both deep sadness as well as anger. I wanted to let you know that I have written a letter to Bibi Khan who is one of the heads of Wightman Road Mosque to show solidarity at this time. This letter will be read out at a Vigil they are holding at the Mosque this evening. I am copying the letter to you all below so you can see it – it was written on behalf of our community as well as Highgate Synagogue, Crouch End Liberal Chavura and Crouch End Chabad. It is so important that at times like these we all stand totgether to show our disgust for such acts of hate, and our support for the Muslim community. We know from attacks on Jewish communal buildings such as in Pittsburgh recently, how much vulnerability and fear these attacks create.
Shabbat Shalom to you all – this Shabbat we will read Parashat Zachor, remembering how the ancient nation of Amalek wanted to destroy our people. Today, Amalek comes in a number of guises, and on this day, it has risen up to kill within a Muslim community.

—–

Dear Bibi,
I am writing to you on behalf of a number of Jewish communities in Haringey. I was extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the terrorist killings in the Al-Noor Mosque and Linwood Mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand and wanted to express our feelings of deep solidarity with you at this painful time. Although the attack happened in New Zealand, we are sure that your community as well as Muslim communities across the UK, will be feeling vulnerable and worried at this time. I will not forget how you and other members of your Mosque attended a vigil at Muswell Hill Synagogue after the killings in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. This meant so much and was such a comfort to our community, and even though I cannot be with you tonight, I will be thinking of you this evening while we recite our Sabbath prayers and want to show total support for your vigil. I know that Jewish people across Haringey will be feeling pain for you all and I look forward to continuing the vital work we are doing together, to bring Muslims and Jews closer. On this dark day, we have to cling to the rays of hope that most of our congregants wish to create a society of tolerance and freedom from violence.
With warm wishes
Rabbi David Mason
On behalf of Muswell Hill Synagogue, Highgate Synagogue, Crouch End Liberal Chavura and Crouch End Chabad.

 

Hippodrome sent:

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Our hearts and prayers are with the Families and loved ones of those killed and injured in the horrific attack in Christchurch, New Zealand.

We want to say that this is a very difficult time not only for Muslims world wide, but for people of all faiths who stand by the values of love, peace and humanity.

We would also like to say, that the messages of support from our neighbours has been overwhelming and we want to thank everybody who reached out to support the Markaz and wider Muslim community. This only strengthens our belief that terrorist acts of this nature will never divide those who seek to stand united.

Our message is always the same, We stand with those who believe that love is stronger than hatred.

When innocents are attacked in a Mosque, Church or Synagogue, it is an attack on us all.

We hope that the Almighty showers his mercy upon those who have lost their lives and protect all of the innocents worldwide.

Markaz Golders Green 15/03/2019

 

Edgware Mosque sent:

Truth Always Prevails.

We are human beings belonging to the same roots and having the same destiny . Therefore,  we should have one common goal and objective which is to engage in developing understanding in order to eradicate ignorance, because it leads to misunderstanding and hatred. Hatred breeds violence. Violence leads to acts of terror and hostility. With collective efforts,  we can gain peace,  security and love.  The prophet said in one of hadiths qudsi:” mankind are Allah’s community   The best of them to Allah are those who benefit most the community.” I also refer to the statement of Ali Taleb, the third caliph who said: ” the whole mankind are brothers and sisters: either brethren in belief or in humanity. ”

Tayeb Mustafa Cham

Taiba Welfare Foundation
Rectory lane, Edgware, Middx HA8 7LG

 

Amina Kadi –  Member of Barnet Muslim Network sent:

It’s 2019 and it’s sad to see our world still divided over differences when we should be in fact be celebrating humanity’s beautiful colours, faiths and cultures.

As a human being and as a Muslim my heart goes out to all of those who have suffered from this horrific attack.

As a community we will continue to hold hands to build stronger, united and loving communities.

We must unite as a big family and create an unbreakable bond that hate cannot divide.

 

From Barnet Multi Faith Forum:

Dear friends and colleagues

On behalf of the BMFF we wish to send a message to all members of the Muslim community, of our deepest sympathy at this very distressing time.

We share in their shock and grief of this cowardly and planned attack, to those who have been brutally murdered and injured in this Christchurch massacre and their grieving families.

These attacks only reinforce our desire and commitment to work in solidarity with people of all faiths and beliefs, to stand strong and united against all forms of racial hatred and to ensure that we work even harder to enhance social cohesion and understanding and peace in the Borough of Barnet.

We stand together, to work alongside you please let us know how we can assist and support the community.   

Esmond Rosen

Shalom, Salaam and Peace
Co-Chair Barnet Multi Faith Forum

Statement from the Barnet Muslim Network

It’s 2019 and it’s sad to see our world still divided over differences when we should be in fact be celebrating humanity’s beautiful colours, faiths and cultures.

As a human being and as a Muslim my heart goes out to all of those who have suffered from this horrific attack.

As a community we will continue to hold hands to build stronger, united and loving communities.

We must unite as a big family and create an unbreakable bond that hate cannot divide.

Amina Kadi –  Member of Barnet Muslim Network

Brexit Guidance

In the preparations for Brexit we currently face many unknowns. The Faith communities have an important role to play both in supporting our members and also our local communities in general. Over the course of the next few weeks much more information will become available as critical decisions are made.

The London Boroughs Faith Network has prepare a Brexit briefing with useful contact information and links. Find out more

Update from the Inter Faith Network: Integration Report and Hate Crime Report

Recent Government publications on integration

The UK Government has published online its response to the Integrated Communities Strategy consultation that was published by it in March last year and its Integrated Communities Action Plan for England.

The Plan “will create stronger, more confident and integrated communities, where people, whatever their background, can live, work, learn and socialise together, based on shared rights, responsibilities and opportunities”. 

Hate Crime

A number of reports have recently been issued which relate to hate crime. The Community Security Trust published earlier this month its 2018 Antisemitic Incidents Report;  the All Party Parliamentary Group on Hate Crime its report ‘How can we build community cohesion when hate crime is on the rise?; and Hope Not Hate its report ‘State of Hate’ 

Faith and inter faith bodies offer important support in contexts where there are, for example, attacks on places of worship or faith community cemeteries – as well, of course, as more widely.  This assistance is both practical and an important witness to solidarity, as reflected in the publication of IFN with the Government, Crown Prosecution Service, National Police Chiefs’ Council and National Fire Chiefs Council

Female Genital Mutilation

by Anthony Melnikoff JP

In November 2018 a conference took place under the auspices of the Barnet Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Forum. The title was Harmful Practices and the emphasis was on harm arising from certain cultural and religious practices. The topic was, by its nature, a highly sensitive one, and focused on three main areas: honour based violence, both physical and non physical; forced marriage; and female genital mutilation (FGM).

Violence of any kind is illegal in the UK, whether honour based or otherwise. Taking this in a wider context, and putting it into a domestic setting, this includes, not only physical abuse, but also psychological, emotional, sexual, and financial, and since 2013 coercive and controlling behaviour has also been included under the definition. Forced marriage has been illegal in the UK since 2014. The number of successful prosecutions under both of the last two headings has been small relative to the number of reported (and alleged non reported) incidents, but at least the offences are now being taken seriously.

The first successful prosecution for FGM took place in February 2019, this despite it having been illegal in the UK, other than for medical reasons, since 1985, the current legislation dating from 2003! There have been three previous prosecutions, but all resulted in acquittal. The offender was a 37 year old woman, the victim her 3 year old daughter. The mother claimed her daughter had “fallen on metal and ripped her private parts” while reaching for a biscuit, and she had “coached” her daughter to repeat this to the police. The prosecution also provided evidence of items being used for witchcraft being found in the mother’s home.

The maximum sentence for this offence is fourteen years imprisonment. At the time of writing the offender is still awaiting sentence. Lynette Woodrow from the CPS said:

“Female genital mutilation has an appalling physical and emotional impact on victims that usually lasts their entire life. We can only imagine how much pain this vulnerable young girl suffered and how terrified she was. A three-year-old has no power to resist or fight back. Her mother then coached her to lie to the police so she wouldn’t get caught but this ultimately failed … We will not hesitate to prosecute those who commit this sickening offence.”

A recent report from the World Health Organisation claims that:

  • FGM is practised in 30 countries in Africa and some in Asia and the Middle East.
  • An estimated three million girls and women worldwide are at risk each year.
  • About 125 million victims estimated to be living with the consequences
  • It is commonly carried out on young girls, often between infancy and the age of 15
  • Is often motivated by beliefs about what is considered proper sexual behaviour, to prepare a girl or woman for adulthood and marriage and to ensure “pure femininity”
  • Dangers include severe bleeding, problems urinating, infections, infertility and increased risk of childbirth complications and newborn deaths

In March 2018 an NHS report estimated that around 137,000 women and girls in the UK are affected by FGM, including 6,000 cases reported in the previous twelve months.

So although the first successful prosecution has now taken place in the UK, there is an enormous amount of work to be done before the practice is eliminated both here and worldwide.

Bulb Planting Film produced by students from Middlesex University for Holocaust Memorial Day 2019

For Holocaust Memorial Day 2019, we are releasing a short film in collaboration with Big Grange Local, Barnet Multi-faith Forum, and the residents of East Finchley. BA Film students from Middlesex recently produced the short film about a community bulb planting day, as part of a Barnet Council initiative to remember every one of the 1.5 million children who died in the Holocaust. The event brought together people from multiple different faiths to plant a memorial garden dedicated to those who have lost their lives as a result of religious persecution. The film features Amina Qadi, a young woman from the Somali Bravenese community who has been very active in multi-faith dialogue in the area around East Finchley. In 2013, the Somali Bravenese community centre was burnt down, an act of hate crime. The local Jewish community responded by inviting them to pray at the local synagogue. In an act of solidarity, Amina dedicates the bulb planting to the 11 people who lost their lives in the shooting at a synagogue in Pittsburgh on 27th October 2018. Production Coordinators: Dr. Helen Bendon, Nayomi Roshini, Media Department, Middlesex University. Production Team: Nikoleta Slezakova, Cloe Peker, Sara Veiga, Bruna Ventura, Patrycja Lisowska, Dariush Asadi, Randy Mankoto Interviewees: Amina Qadi, Natan Levy, Julia Hines, Esmond Rosen and Leo Smith Middlesex University 2019

Barnet CTN Bulletin Dec 2018

You can download the latest copy of the CTN bulletin here.

This is the final CTN bulletin of the year and at this time of the year, we would like to reflect and to celebrate Barnet’s wide cultural, religious and diverse community.

CTN has recognised the unwelcome rise of intolerance and extremism and our response with the Barnet Multi Faith Forum showed our support to those affected by the Pittsburg massacre. We also all came together to support our residents in the Willow House fire last month.

The work in 2019 will further build upon the development of partnership working, sharing, supporting and to create a strong, successful and shared community for Barnet. The CTN continues to resolve issues of community concern, explore solutions, meet community needs and to help find funding.

May we wish you a peaceful end to 2018 and a brighter future for 2019.

Festive wishes from the Community Participation & Engagement Team