Forensic and police officers attend to the scene after a vehicle collided with pedestrians in the Finsbury Park neighbourhood of North London, Britain June 19, 2017. .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jewish groups in the UK and around the world extended their condolences and issued condemnations on Monday after a van plowed into a group of worshipers leaving a London mosque in the early hours of the day.
Following the incident, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews Jonathan Arkush released a statement condemning the attack: “Our heartfelt sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with the victims.”
He mentioned that the Jewish community has spent the past weekend together with Muslims and others participating in The Great Get Together in memory of Jo Cox – a British Labor Party politician who was murdered last year by an alleged white supremacist in the lead-up to the Brexit referendum.
Aerial shots of van said to have rammed worshippers leaving London mosque (credit: REUTERS)
“All good people must stand together and join in rejecting hatred and violence from wherever it comes. The way forward is to strengthen the moderate majority and repudiate and marginalize extremism of every type,” Arkush stated. “Hatred of people because of their religion has no place in our society.”
Simon Johnson, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council also slammed the “vile, terrorist attack,” saying, “To target those at worship or observing their faith is a betrayal of our British values of tolerance, respect and kindness on which our society is built.”
The Jewish security organization Community Security Trust also condemned the attack and Rabbi Herschel Gluck, president of the ultra-Orthodox “neighborhood watch” Shomrim, attended a meeting at the targeted mosque together with British Prime Minister Theresa May and other faith leaders.
International Jewish umbrella organizations also expressed their shock and condemnation in public statements.
“This is an unconscionable attack on Muslim worshipers during their holy month of Ramadan,” European Jewish Congress President Dr. Moshe Kantor said. “We condemn this attack and its attempt to escalate tensions in the UK and we stand firmly besides our Muslim brothers and sisters in the aftermath of this attack.
An attack on one religion is an attack on all religions and all people and faiths must stand together against terror.”
Echoing this sentiment, World Jewish Congress president Ronald S. Lauder said: “Hatred and acts of violence are running rampant around the world, and we are living in a frightening reality in which none of us is immune to terror. We must stand together to defend the critical values of tolerance and freedom that make our society strong, and do everything in our power to fight this scourge of terrorism.
Our way of life is under attack, but we must not surrender to the intimidation of terror. We must not let these terrorists win.”