Statement from Birmingham Faith Leaders' Group

Birmingham’s Faith Leaders call on people of faith in the City to work and pray for peace in Israel, Palestine and across the Israel-Gaza border

We watch with increasing dismay and sorrow, the escalating situation of conflict in Israel, Palestine, Jerusalem and across the Israel-Gaza border. As this region, so sacred to many of the great world faiths, drifts perilously towards all-out war, we call on all people of faith in Birmingham to pray that peace may prevail.

It is particularly abhorrent that this destruction is taking place at this moment, which is among the most sacred in the whole calendar, for the major religions of that region and this city. Today (13 May), Muslims mark Eid-ul-Fitr and the end of the Holy Month of Ramadan, whilst Christians mark Ascension Day. In a few days’ time, Jews will celebrate the Feast of Shavuot. It will be difficult for any of our faithful to celebrate, knowing that the current conflict is growing remorselessly.

We implore all people of faith in Birmingham to pray for repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. We call upon all to recognise injustice, terrorism and inhumanity where they have occurred and contributed to the building of conflict, and to seek instead to build bridges of hope and understanding.

We call upon everyone here in Birmingham to not allow situations abroad to infect and undermine the good relationships which we have carefully built in this city. We give thanks for the good and life-giving inter-faith relations, exercised, day-in, day-out, by people of faith, in Birmingham. We denounce any attempts to attack or harass anyone here because of the faith they profess, or events taking place elsewhere, and completely outside their control.

We have always opposed and rejected the singling out of people on the basis of their faith, and we continue to do so even more strongly in this most difficult of periods. The true sense of religion is mercy, compassion, love, forgiveness, honesty, humility and accountability. We must seek global religious solidarity.

The membership of the Faith Leaders’ Group is:

• Rabbi Yossi Jacobs, Singers Hill Synagogue (Orthodox Judaism) – Chair, BFLG
• Mr Amrick Singh Ubhi, Nishkam Centre (Sikhism) – Vice Chair, BFLG
• Mr John Beard, Mahayana Buddhists (Buddhism)
• Rt Rev David Urqhart, Bishop of Birmingham (Church of England)
• Most Rev Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham (Roman Catholic)
• Cllr Muhammad Afzal, Birmingham Central Mosque (Islam)
• Rabbi Dr Margaret Jacobi, Progressive Synagogue (Progressive Judaism)
• Imam Muhammad Asad, Birmingham Central Mosque (Islam)
• Bhai Dr Mohinder Singh, Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (Sikhism)
• Rev Ian Howarth, Birmingham Methodist Church (Free Churches)
• Mr Dinesh Chauhan (Hinduism)
• Ven Dr Ottaranyana, Birmingham Buddhist Vihara (Buddhism)

Statement from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales

Bishop Declan Lang, Chair of the Bishops’ International Affairs department, has echoed calls for an end to “the occupation, discrimination and human rights violations that propagate violent attacks on civilians, standing in the way of a stable and peaceful future for Palestinians and Israelis.”


As people of peace, we pray for an end to the airstrikes, shooting, missile attacks, and communal violence engulfing the Holy Land.

Pope Francis reminds us that: “Every act of violence committed against a human being is a wound in humanity’s flesh; every violent death diminishes us as people.”

The local churches have clearly stated that peace requires justice. We echo their calls for an end to the occupation, discrimination and human rights violations that propagate violent attacks on civilians, standing in the way of a stable and peaceful future for Palestinians and Israelis.

We reaffirm our commitment to the internationally recognised status of Jerusalem, the Status Quo of its holy sites, and the equal rights of Jews, Christians and Muslims in the city.

At this critical time let us also offer our support to those humanitarian organisations working tirelessly to save lives and alleviate suffering.

Bishop Declan Lang
Lead Bishop for International Affairs
Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Chair of the Holy Land Coordination

Photograph courtesy of the Bishops' Conference