Je suis Charlie: Town Hall, mosque and MP condemn Paris shootings
- Credit: Archant
Tower Hamlets Council fell silent on Thursday as a show of solidarity with people in France after the murder of 12 people in Paris by Islamist gunmen.
Staff at the Town Hall decided to hold a minute’s silence on January 8 out of respect for the victims of the attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo the day before.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman, the UK’s first elected Muslim mayor, spoke out against the “vicious” attack, for which the borough’s biggest mosque said there was “no justification”.
The murder of eight journalists and four others by fanatics over cartoons of Islam’s prophet saw huge demonstrations of solidarity in Paris, London and elsewhere for free expression.
A graffiti mural was painted in Sclater Street, Shoreditch, with the words “Je Suis Charlie”, the slogan of the demonstrations.
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Shortly after the attack, Mayor Rahman tweeted: “Thoughts with families/friends of those in tragic Paris killings. Violence shouldn’t be used to make points, no matter what journalists wrote.”
After a linked attack in Paris by a third gunman, in which a policewoman and a number of hostages at a Jewish supermarket were killed, the Mayor added: “These vicious attacks are to be unequivocally reviled, and their perpetrators will not succeed in dividing us.
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“It was inspiring to watch millions rallying with a message of peace and freedom.
“I hope here in London we can work together to strengthen our communities and resist the politics of hate.”
A spokesman for the East London Mosque, Whitechapel, said: “We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the families of those killed during the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
“There can be no justification whatsoever for such taking of life.”
They also condemned attacks on mosques and members of the public as part of a racist backlash and aked people to remain vigilant.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said the attacks were “shocking”, adding: “We stand in solidarity with France against this evil attack by terrorists intent on attacking our freedoms.”
. Paris attack: Jews feel ‘less safe’
Jews feel “less secure” after attacks like the one in Paris on a Jewish supermarket, a community leader has said, adding that religious prophets should not be above criticism.
Nathaniel Russ, honourary vice-president of Fieldgate Street synagogue in Poplar, said: “London has a very big Jewish community and we’ve been persecuted in this country [too]. I’m sure they feel less secure. You must deal with the situation as it is.
“My children tell me, ‘Dad, don’t just walk out with your skull cap on’. I don’t agree. Why can’t I do the things I like doing without worrying about somebody coming up to me and hitting me in the back of the head?”
On the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, he said: “Although I’m Jewish, I’m secular and can think secularly.
“If someone tells me Moses is completely wrong, I say, ‘Where is he wrong?’.
“I’m not going to strike him or shoot him or hit him or anything like that.
“We all have different opinions about God.”
The Met police recorded 11 anti-semitic attacks in Tower Hamlets last year, despite Jews only being 0.5 per cent of the population.