Woolwich attack: Faith leaders united in condemnation

The Southampton Council of Faiths has added its voice to the condemnation expressed over the attack on a soldier in Woolwich on Wednesday.

The victim of the attack has been named as Drummer Lee Rigby, 25, of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

Two suspects shot at the scene have been arrested. The BBC reports that two more people have been arrested on conspiracy to murder.

The statement by the Southampton Council of Faiths "utterly condemns the brutal murder" of Drummer Rigby.

The statement is supported by the Bishop of Southampton, the Right Reverend Jonathan Frost.

It continues: "Although Islamic language was used by the killers in their justification for the awful crime they had committed, this does not reflect the teaching of Islam which, like the other faiths, is committed to peace and dialogue. Our thoughts are with the family and colleagues of the soldier who died.

"In Southampton the faith communities have a long history of dialogue and tolerance, and we stand firmly together against violence, intolerance and acts of terrorism."

The statement echoes comments made by the Faiths Forum For London deploring the attack.

"All of our religions exalt the sanctity of human life and no grievance could justify such a barbaric assault that has cost a young man his life. Terrorism has no place on our streets," the forum said.

"We pray for the victim of this attack and his family, and call for Londoners to stand together at this time. We will redouble our efforts to work for peace, love, understanding and hope."

The Bishop of Woolwich, Dr Michael Ipgrave, attended a service on Thursday alongside the Catholic Bishop of Southwark, Pat Lynch, at St Peter's Roman Catholic Church in Woolwich in the wake of the attack.

Bishop Lynch issued an appeal for prayer, saying: "We encourage people to pray for the young man who died so tragically and for his family and colleagues at Woolwich Barracks who must be devastated by recent events."

He continued: "We would also ask people of the diocese to unite themselves in prayer with the people of Woolwich at this difficult time.

"In recent years there has been a very good relationship between the various cultural and faith communities in the Woolwich area and we have every confidence that this mutual respect and collaboration will indeed continue and grow stronger."