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.
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.