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Barking community unites in solidarity with family of Woolwich victim Lee Rigby

PUBLISHED: 20:20 30 May 2013 | UPDATED: 20:20 30 May 2013

The group gathers to hear from speakers condemning the Woolwich attack.

The group gathers to hear from speakers condemning the Woolwich attack.

Archant

People from all religious and ethnic backgrounds joined a walk organised by a Muslim group to show their solidarity with the family of murdered soldier Lee Rigby.

Shakir Qureshi, from Barking, arranged the march today in the wake of the horrific attack in Woolwich last Wednesday where the 25-year-old was stabbed to death.

Footage of the incident showed the suspects making extremist Islamist speeches, which sparked vicious anti-Muslim comments from far-right groups.

Shakir, who chairs Pakistani think tank Karwan-e-Fikr UK, wanted to bring the community together to denounce the use of Islam to justify a murder.

He said: “This area is famous for its diverse community, which joins me today. We must unite to prove we can live in harmony. The murder was a plan to terrorise this country, and we do not want anything happening here like is happening in some countries in the world.”

He said he had been victim to online racist abuse in the past week, particularly since organising the walk, and warned that extremist groups on both sides must be dealt with.

“The murderers must be made an example of, so that no one does this again.”” he said.

Shakir was joined by a crowd of about 30 people who gathered from 5pm in Fanshawe Avenue, Barking and made their way up Ilford Lane to the Sainsbury’s superstore, carrying pictures of Lee Rigby and chanting “Not in the name of Islam”.

There was a small police presence during the march with about five officers following at the back.

Among the demonstrators was 29-year-old Dom Bennett, who said: “I watched the news and saw the whole thing blow up from a horrific crime into a big national debate. I am not religious, I just saw the march on Facebook and wanted to show my support.”

Barking and Dagenham councillor Darren Rodwell commented: “It is important that reasonable people all come together and show their distress at the murder. It was not done in the name of anything but narrow-mindedness and bigotry.”

At the end of the march, the group gathered and chanted: “We are with Lee Rigby.”

Diane Neslen, who chairs the Redbridge Equalities and Community Council, said: “I am delighted to be here to express our solidarity with the family and express our commitment to unity in the community.”


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