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Standing up to hate - statement following the attack in Halle, Germany

Statement from the Inter Faith Network for the UK Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators

The Co-Chairs of the Inter Faith Network for the UK and the Moderators of its Faith Communities Forum condemn in the strongest possible terms attacks such as that in Halle, Germany. 

We repeat the message of the Co-Chairs issued shortly after the attack: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those killed in, and all affected by, the brutal gun attack in Halle, Germany”. That also noted the reported location of the attack near a synagogue and Jewish cemetery on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.  At least one other attack also took place, at a Turkish café.

The full context for the attacks in Halle is not yet known but the early evidence from livestreaming by the gunman subsequently arrested (described as a white German citizen) points to the extreme right wing, and to motivations characterised by poisonous views about Jews and about a number of other groups within society.

We also condemn in the strongest possible terms forms of hatred such as Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and hatred directed at other groups such as Christians, Hindus and Sikhs – whether intentionally or due to illiterate misidentification of one group as another by perpetrators.  

In the UK, we have a history of generally good relations and that has helped us withstand the impact of terror attacks such as those in London and Manchester. However these good relations have been increasingly punctuated by spikes in hate crime and suffering erosion from often bunkered and brutal public and online discourse.

The Inter Faith Network for the UK links in membership many national faith community representative bodies, inter faith organisations, and educational and academic bodies with a commitment to building good inter faith relations. It is important that we – alongside all others of good will - work to address these problems; that we stand up to prejudice and extremism and work, on the basis of values held in common, for a society where there is no place for hatred, where there is respectful and safe discussion of different views, and which is diverse but united, harmonious, just, and thriving.

The Inter Faith Network Co-Chairs and Faith Communities Forum Moderators

10 October 2019

Notes for editors

  1. Press queries to the Inter Faith Network: email ifnet@interfaith.org.uk
  2. The Inter Faith Network for the UK www.interfaith.org.uk was founded in 1987 to advance public knowledge and mutual understanding of the teachings, traditions and practices of the different faith communities in Britain and to promote good relations between people of different faiths in this country. It works with its member bodies and others to carry out these aims.
  3. Member bodies of the Inter Faith Network include: national faith community representative bodies; national, regional and local inter faith bodies; and academic institutions and educational bodies concerned with inter faith issues. A list of member bodies can be found at http://www.interfaith.org.uk/members.
  4. This statement can be found at http://interfaith.org.uk/resources/statements-and-messages and a copy of IFN’s statement making policy at https://www.interfaith.org.uk/uploads/Policy_on_making_of_statements.pdf
  5. IFN published in 2017 the following relevant guidance: , in partnership with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Home Office, the Crown Prosecution Service, the National Police Chiefs’ Council and the National Fire Chiefs’ Council: https://www.interfaith.org.uk/resources/looking-after-one-another-the-safety-and-security-of-our-faith-communities-2017
    The document contains guidance on responding jointly to attacks on places of worship; working for calm at times of tension; and working to build on and strengthen existing good inter faith relations. It contains material about how and where to report hate incidents, cyber-attacks, and actual or suspected terrorist activity; where to find information on strengthening the security of buildings; and where to find information about working to build – and strengthen – good inter faith relations locally.