City’s Faith Leaders call for action on behalf of grieving families

Leaders from three of Birmingham’s faith communities have visited the grieving families of the two young men murdered in recent violence in the Lozells area.

Bishop Dr Joe Aldred from the Council of Black Led Churches, Mr Sewa Singh Mandla from the Sikh community and Rabbi Leonard Tann from the Birmingham Hebrew Congregation visited both families during the last week to express their sympathy and solidarity, on behalf of the leaders of all the city’s faith communities.

Dr Naseem from Birmingham central Mosque endorsed the visits though he was unable to attend.

Bishop Aldred said “Both families are experiencing deep pain because of the premature and violent death of their children”.

Rabbi Tann said “It was moving and I for one felt inadequate.”

The faith leaders came away with clear messages from the families:

· they want the bodies of their children released as soon as possible so that funerals can be arranged and they can finally be laid to rest

· they want to ensure that every effort is made, both by the police and by the local community, to identify and catch the perpetrators of these two murders.

“Until these two things happen, there will be no sense of proper grieving or closure to these tragic events, either for the families, or indeed for the community as a whole.” added Bishop Aldred.

Both families were united in calling for people in the local community to give information to the police and do everything possible to bring to justice the killers of their sons. If anyone knows anything and remains silent, that is being complicit with the crimes of others.

They also called on people not to get into a cycle of revenge and retribution, which would only lead to further death and pain.

Dr Naseem said “These tragic events have not been caused by warring ethnic or religious communities; they are the result of blatant criminality which then tries to use an ethnic or religious identity to give their abhorrent actions some form of justification. We are clear such criminal acts cannot be justified and all our faith communities stand united in condemning them.”

The faith leaders have agreed to write, on behalf of the families, to both the police and Birmingham City Council to convey the needs which the families have expressed.

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