Reflections of a local councillor on the arson attacks in Beeston

The very sad news of arson attacks on two places of worship within our community has shocked us and moved us to action. Like many others, I struggled to know what the best next steps were when the news broke on that Tuesday morning as a combination of sadness and anger bubbled away inside.

Damage to Hardy Street Mosque. Photo: Rich Lamb

Pleasingly the police responded quickly and held a meeting that day to reassure our community that they were taking the event seriously, with a dedicated team investigating and providing extra patrols, particularly around prayer times as our Muslim friends observe the month of Ramadan.

I was also pleased with how the community responded, with the very well attended ‘peace and unity’ vigil and march held on Sunday 9 June, and among other ideas, a ‘crowd funding’ initiative to raise money to pay for the damages to both the Mosque and the Gurdwara (which at the time of writing had raised well over the £500 targeted). These are both great examples of the unity and togetherness that is in our community, only disrupted by a very small minority.

We all need to be spurred into action, taking a more active role in speaking up against any form of racism or religious intolerance, which is unfortunately, too often accepted in casual conversation, or ill thought through social media activity.

I encourage all of us to adopt a more friendly, compassionate posture towards others, assuming the best in them. Those of us with friends across the community, let’s take a renewed step towards those of different faiths, and none.


This post was written by Cllr Andrew Scopes (Beeston & Holbeck) using our Create an article for South Leeds Life page.