Community groups in Barking and Dagenham express shock at “brutal and barbaric” murder of soldier in Woolwich

The four groups said London’s status as a multi-cultural city which “respects and celebrates diversity” is what makes it one of the most “dynamic, progressive and tolerant cities in the world”.

Barking and Dagenham Council for Voluntary Service (CVS), Barking and Dagenham Faith Forum, Barking and Dagenham Racial Equality Council and the Refugee and Migrant Forum of East London (RAMFEL) all condemned the attack on a soldier in John Wilson Street, Woolwich, south east London.

Police have confirmed the man who died was a serving soldier and, although they have yet to formally identify him, next of kin have been informed.

Two men were shot and arrested by armed police following the incident. They were seen holding bladed weapons and making religious statements at the scene of the crime.

Community groups extended their “sincerest condolences” to the family and friends of the dead soldier.

They added: “The murder, and the brutal and barbaric way in which it was carried out, has shocked everyone, and has been rightly condemned by all communities.

“London is a multi-cultural city which recognises, respects and celebrates diversity, of cultures, faiths, beliefs and ideologies.

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“This is what makes London one of the most dynamic, progressive and tolerant cities in the world, epitomised by last year’s hosting of the 2012 Olympics.

“Yesterday’s actions by two individuals are an attempt to undermine and attack this, and they will not succeed.

“Rejecting all forms of hatred, whether directed towards individuals or institutions, is the best and surest way of defeating those who seek to divide us.”

A post-mortem examination will take place later today.