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Statement following the killing of Sir David Amess MP

A statement on behalf of the Board and the Moderators of the Faith Communities Forum of the Inter Faith Network for the UK

We condemn in the strongest terms the killing of Sir David Amess MP and we extend our deepest sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues. Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected.

Like the murder five years ago of Jo Cox MP, the knife attack on Steven Timms MP, and the attack on Nigel Jones MP in which local councillor Andrew Pennington, who had come to his aid, was killed, this latest murderous stabbing throws into sharp relief the vulnerability of those who serve as our elected representatives. 

Causes and motives differ. In some cases, attackers seek to justify their acts through perverse distortions of religious teachings, such as in the case of Islamist extremists (despite the repeated rejection of their views by members of the community in question), or of political doctrine, in the case of far right extremists.   

We must stand firm against hatred and division and in support of safe, free and open engagement of people in a democratic society.

The late Sir David Amess MP was a man who, throughout his career, engaged actively with his constituents and worked with energy and commitment for many causes. Despite the rise of abusive language directed at politicians and threats to their safety, he continued to be accessible, to interact in an open way.  He also – despite the increasingly polarised discourse of the present times - sought to enable civilised and kind discourse, including on issues where there can be strongly differing views.  

Like his late colleague Jo Cox, Sir David Amess had a strong sense of commonalities and of community. The testimonies to him come from all quarters, from across his constituency - including the local faith communities, with which he had a positive relationship – and beyond.

Let us, in our interaction, continue to model that openness to exchange and the spirit of integrity and commitment to work, that both Sir David and Jo Cox shared: “We have far more in common than that which divides us”.

  A statement on behalf of the Board and the Moderators of the
Faith Communities Forum of the Inter Faith Network for the UK

18 October 2021

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. 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. Sir David's active engagement with local faith communities was reflected in testimonies such as those from local church leaders; the Rabbi of Southend and Westcliff Hebrew congregation, who spoke of the  'very close relationship with our Jewish community here in Westcliff' https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/southend-rabbi-remembers-murdered-mp-sir-david-amess-as-a-real-mensch/; and  a joint statement from the mosques of Southend https://essexmasjid.com/2021/10/16/joint-statement-from-all-southend-mosques-mourning-the-tragic-loss-of-local-mp-sir-david-amess/ condeming Sir David's murder as an indefensible atrocity and speaking of him as "an upstanding friend to our Muslim community.”
  6. “We have far more in common than that which divides us” is from Jo Cox’s Maiden Speech in the House of Commons in June 2016 (the full text of which can be found at https://old.parliament.uk/business/news/2016/june/jo-cox-maiden-speech-in-the-house-of-commons/).

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