Muslims join today’s Eucharist at Bethnal Green to mark French priest’s murder by Islamists

A service at St John’s on Bethnal Green was held in the wake of the murder last month of Father Jacques Hamel.

One Muslim at the service, Mohammed Amin, publicly denounced Islamic extremism as “barbarity”.

He said: “I am outraged by the way bloodthirsty savages like ISIS have hijacked my religion and used it to justify hate and murder. All Muslims have a duty to resist them.

“I was in America when Father Hamel was murdered by two young French Muslims. We need to stand together when faced by such barbarism.”

Today’s service was led by the Rector of St John’s, The Rev Prebendary Alan Green, who chairs Tower Hamlets’ Inter-Faith Forum which brings faith leaders in the East End, with its large Muslim population, together with the local authority, organisations and police.

Mr Green said: “We must not allow terrorists and criminals to undermine our values nor our commitment to them.

“By joining together today with respect for both Christianity and Islam, we encourage all—with or without a religious faith—to respond to violent provocation by actively proclaiming our values of hospitality, openness and freedom by our words and actions.”

The service was organised by Faith Matters, which was launched in 2006 to tackle hate crime and extremism by reducing conflict through cohesion and integration.

Its founder Fiyaz Mughal said: “Christians and Muslims standing together at mass in France to commemorate those who have been targeted for their faith, like Father Jacques, means that we must make the effort to reach out and not let hatred win.”

Muslims given a brief overview of the worship before the service included Imam Dr Mamadou Bocoum, a lecturer in Islamic Studies and member of the Muslim Law Council UK, Mohammed Amin, the first Muslim in Britain admitted into the Price Waterhouse accountancy partnership, and Tower Hamlets councillor Rabina Khan.

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