Council officials, police officers and representatives from community and faith groups in the city pledged their commitment to stand together in the face of terrorism, and paid tribute to those who died in yesterday’s attack on London (March 22).
Brighton and Hove’s ‘One Voice’ partnership gathered today (March 23) to reaffirm its commitment to tackling racism, intolerance and extremism after the terror attacks in Westminster.
Geoff Raw, chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “Yesterday’s incident outside of the Houses of Parliament has shocked and saddened us all. We send our deepest sympathies to the families of those who have lost lives, those who have been injured, and all affected communities.”
Anthea Ballam, secretary of the Interfaith Contact Group, said: “Representing the many faiths in our city, we’re deeply sorrowful about the tragic incident in London yesterday. We stand firm that these acts of violence and hate must not go any further. We must look out and care for each other and ensure that individuals and communities are not singled out in our city.”
Mahir Chowdhury, chair of the Racial Harassment Forum, said: “We do not tolerate violence against innocent people, wherever it takes place. We as communities, council, and police stand together and speak with one voice against extremist perspectives and actions in the city and elsewhere. It’s now even more important for all our communities to demonstrate that we will not let any terrorist action divide us and continue our great tradition of unity and respect for all.”
Sabri Ben-Ameur, vice-chair of the Brighton and Hove Muslim Forum, said: “We strongly condemn these assaults on innocent people. Terrorism has no place in any society and we will continue to pray for the victims and their families. Our thoughts are also with the family of the late PC Keith Palmer. His bravery and the response of the police and emergency services are to be commended.”
Billie Lewis, chair of the LGBT Community Safety Forum, said: “We stand together in solidarity in our response to yesterday’s assault on people going about their daily lives. Our LGBTQ community is made up of diverse and different people. We understand, particularly in times of anger and shock, that our difference is one of our greatest strengths. We recognise that compassion, communication and increasing trust between communities is the best way to tackle these collective threats to our safety.”
The One Voice partnership is run by Brighton and Hove City Council, which meets with community activists and representatives from minority groups in the area. It aims to empower communities, developing community resilience against extremism, supporting cohesion and integration and facilitating communities to come together to celebrate shared values.
The meeting of the group comes as leader of the council Warren Morgan expressed his sympathies for the victims of the terror attack, and said flags would fly at half mast around the city today.
Speaking hours after the attack, Cllr Morgan said: “I am appalled and deeply saddened by the indiscriminate act of senseless violence which has taken place this afternoon in Westminster - at the very heart of British democracy.
“The loss of lives is truly tragic and the impact of what has happened is incomprehensible. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims and everyone affected.
“Brighton and Hove welcomes all and embraces the cultures our diverse communities bring to the city. We urge everyone to stand together and denounce all acts of violence. We should remember that incidents such as this are rare and we should be vigilant but not afraid.
“We thank the Metropolitan Police Force and the security officers who reacted so quickly and we send our condolences to the families of the police officer and other victims who died today.”
Brighton and Hove City Council and Sussex Police urged residents to remain aware, and to report any suspicious behaviour or activity by calling the confidential anti-terrorist hotline on 0800 789 321 or 999 in an emergency.
One Voice members echoed this message, and encouraged residents and communities to report any racist, religiously motivated or other hate incidents in the city, here.