‘Don’t let us be divided by terror’, pleads West Norfolk Muslim leader

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Communities should work together locally in order to face down extremism globally, a West Norfolk Muslim leader has said.

The plea was made as faith leaders here condemned Saturday night’s terrorist atrocity on London Bridge, in which seven people were killed and dozens more were injured.

The attack, which is the third terrorist atrocity in Britain this year alone, prompted prime minister Theresa May to claim there was too much “tolerance of extremism” in Britain.

But Azam Gabbair, president of the West Norfolk Islamic Association, said he was worried by the tone of Mrs May’s comments.

He said: “We need to recognise that this sick brainwashed minority driving this narrative to divide us are just that.

“We all have to co-exist, to work together and trust each other to find solutions.

“Hate-filled rhetoric and acts will exploit communities already weakened by economic and cultural insecurity.

“Our centre opened it’s doors on Kings Lynn Heritage Open Day last September and I was amazed at the people who turned up – from all walks of life.

“Although it’s a global issue, it’s at a very local level where we make change.

“I am a humanitarian. I believe the majority of us are. We need to face down the risks of being polarised, of fuelling division and racism in the wake of the actions of the lunatic few who don’t represent me or you.

“We need to talk to each other, to integrate and understand each other. That’s where I really believe we can bring about change at a local level.”

Mr Gabbair said the group had been shocked by the “senseless” violence carried out by the attackers, who were subsequently shot dead by police.

He added: “The majority of Muslims were praying in this holy month of Ramadhan, only to return home to hear news of these sick and vile opportunists who attacked innocent people in a manner which has no place in Islam or wider society.”