Statement from the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group following the terrorist shootings outside a synagogue in Halle, Germany – Yom Kippur, 9th October 2019

Members of the Birmingham Faith Leaders’ Group, representing, as they do, the many communities across the city from our six major faiths, wish to express our sorrow at the news of the terrorist attack apparently by a single gunman, on a synagogue in the German city of Halle. That this obscene event has taken place on the most holy day of Yom Kippur with all its tragic associations for the Jewish people, simply adds to the horror.

We express our thoughts and prayers and solidarity with our own Jewish community in Birmingham, and particularly for associations which exist with Halle. We will all also be praying for Halle and its surrounding areas tonight and we express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of those who lost their lives so brutally and senselessly, or who were otherwise affected.

We do not need to rehearse the oft stated fact that such acts are anathema to all people of faith and to all understandings of a common and shared humanity.

What the event in Halle surely teaches us here in Birmingham is that we must never allow complacency to overtake us. The threat of extremist action is always present in some form, in every community. We must all maintain vigilance, continue to speak out against the hatred which fuels such acts, and continue to emphasise the importance of building trust and understanding. We must also support the police and civic authorities by seeking to identify and root out those who wish to sow the seeds of hatred and division.

We are proud of the good relationships which flourish and grow in Birmingham and we must never allow ourselves to take these precious gifts for granted.