Terrorists killing dozens of people have no place in humanity – that was the message from Bristol’s religious leaders as they came together today to remember those who died in Pakistan after a bombing.
Representatives from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and Sikh communities in Bristol stood in solidarity at College Green this afternoon in memory of those who died in the horrific bombing in Lahore over the weekend, when more than 70 people died.
It comes after the vigil at the Greek Orthodox Church Hall in Easton on Monday night, where Mayor George Ferguson and mayoral candidate Marvin Rees addressed crowds.
The Pakistan flag was flown at half mast in front of the council offices today.
Pakistani authorities have been searching for fighters from a Taliban militant faction that claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a public park that killed at least 72 people, many of whom were children.
The bomber blew himself up near an entrance to Gulshan-e- Iqbal Park, close to a children’s play area on Sunday evening.
He was thought to be targeting Christians during the Easter holidays.
Abdul Malik, chairman of the Easton Jamia Mosque, was quick to condemn the terrorists. He said: “Somebody that hurts somebody else in the name of ‘religion’ has no place within our humanity circle. They have no place in any religion. That is the crux of it. That is my personal feeling.
“The ceremony went well. Everyone was really respectful and we had people from various different backgrounds and faiths standing together.
“I think it is an important moment for Bristol. It was a chance to show we can act together, stand together and live together in harmony.
“We need to be talking about communities and how we live together. It was a chance to set an example to the rest of the world.
“In Bristol, we are lucky to have such diverse groups of people and that is quite unique. I don’t think the message is getting through nationally or internationally though. There is so much more we can do.”
Mr Malik’s Easton Jamia Mosque sits just across the street from St Mark’s Baptist Church, and the two regularly work together on events and activities.
“For years we were side by side with each other but did not do much. But we’ve now built some really good bridges with the church and do quite a lot of things together,” he said.
“We bring them presents over Christmas, and they do the same for us over Eid. It is great knowing we can work together.”