The terrorist attack on the Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has united Bexhill churches.
This was made clear when Bishop Laurie Green was invited to speak at Friday Prayers at the Bexhill Mosque that very afternoon.
Bexhill Mayor Cllr Abul Azad said: “As the news continued to come in we learnt of a peace-loving and respected Muslim community losing at least fifty members – family and friends – at the hands of the Australian terrorist.
“We heard large number of others are still being treated for serious wounds and knew too that women and children are among the dead.”
Speaking on behalf of the many church congregations in Bexhill, Bishop Laurie, addressing the Muslim community said:
“We want to assure you that we share your grief and stand shoulder to shoulder with your community as fellow People of Faith.
“We pray that God will shower his mercy upon all those who have lost their lives in this terrible event, as we pray also for those who grieve.
“We believe that an attack on any mosque is an attack on our own church too for we are united with you in seeking to please God our Creator.
“Our paths differ but our love for God and for all His children is what unites us. We ask you to accept our condolences as you mourn the loss of these Muslim Brothers and Sisters and be assured of our prayers, our support and our solidarity with you.”
The Mayor of Bexhill, Cllr Abul Azad, Imam A K Soomro and Bishop Laurie are good friends and said they can see this atrocity is not dividing our communities, but has actually given us all good reason to work more closely together.
Cllr Abul Azad said: “It is when we get to know one another as friends that we realise that terrorists of any sort do not represent the vast majority who are peaceful and caring fellow human beings.”
MP Huw Merriman assured the Muslim congregation of the determination to continue our work together for the benefit of all the community. Representatives of many local faiths and community organisations have been meeting since last Friday, making new friends and breaking down the barriers that seek to divide people.