St Albans peace vigil held to remember victims of global terror attacks

PUBLISHED: 16:14 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 16:14 20 May 2019

Attendees to the peace vigil held at St Albans Clock Tower this May. Picture: Syeda Momotaz Rahim

Attendees to the peace vigil held at St Albans Clock Tower this May. Picture: Syeda Momotaz Rahim

Archant

A peace vigil was held in St Albans to remember the victims of terror attacks in recent history.

Hertfordshire All Women's Trust and the St Albans Interfaith Women's Group organised the commemorative peace vigil by the Clock Tower on the evening of May 11.

People of different faiths - from Islam, Judaism, and Christianity - prayed for anyone involved in terrorist attacks across the globe.

This includes the bombing of Manchester Arena at a Ariana Grande concert in 2017, mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand in March, and the hotel and church bombings in Colombo, Sri Lanka in April.

The vigil attendants were also joined by curious passers-by who happened to be exiting bars, pubs and restaurants in St Albans at the time.

Director of the Hertfordshire All Women's Trust, Syeda Momotaz Rahim, said it was important to stand together.

"Personally, from my experience, people are losing their good neighbourliness and there is a fair amount of anxiety about people of different backgrounds and of other groups.

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"We seem to be going backwards rather than forwards.

"We should be more progressive and inclusive in society but there is a lot of fear of people who are different.

"That is why it is important that people from different communities get together to break the ice and barriers with each other."

The annual peace vigil in St Albans was initially set up by Ann Scorer of the St Albans Interfaith Women's Group after the 2001 9/11 tragedy, but they used to take place in November for Inter Faith Week.

Syeda said it was important to learn about and understand people from different cultures, stressing that the perception of Islam as an inherently violent culture is wrong.

As part of the vigil, Syeda read out a statement from the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh which was issued after the Christchurch attack.

Chair of the board of the federation, Meryl Ainsman, said: "Unfortunately we are all too familiar with the devastating effect a mass shooting has on a faith community.

"We are filled with grief over this senseless act of hate. May those who were injured heal quickly and fully and may the memories of the victims forever be a blessing."

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