Thousands link hands on Westminster Bridge to show Solidarity
London: People from all faiths Hands Across Westminster Bridge event said it had brought “people of all faiths” together, and showed that those who sought to “divide us have failed”.
Event was arranged with the help of Muslim organisations to show solidarity with the victims of London terrorism.
Mustafa Field, director of the Faiths Forum for London, which helped organise the vigil, said: “This attack tried to divide us and what I’ve seen and I’ve witnessed is that we’ve come stronger in our unity, we’re stronger in our relationships and that we will not be cowed and we will not be defeated.”
The bridge, still adorned with floral tributes to the victims, was closed to traffic as those gathered walked in solidarity across the Thames.
Nurses and doctors from St Thomas’ hospital, where many of the injured were treated, came out to pay their respects.
Schoolchildren aged nine and 10 from Al-Sadiq and Al-Zahra Schools clasped yellow roses and held signs which read “Islam says no to terror” and “please don’t kill innocent people” as they walked across the river.
They laid flowers on the bridge in the shadow of the Palace of Westminster after walking hand-in-hand.
Police officers, paramedics, religious leaders and members of the public also laid floral tributes – many emotional as they crouched down on the pavement, pausing for a moment to remember the victims.
Rain began to fall as the vigil stopped for a minute’s silence at 2.40pm – the time the first call was made to police exactly seven days ago.
Police officers also held a minute’s silence outside New Scotland Yard.
Acting commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Craig Mackey said: “This afternoon is about remembering the victims of last week’s events. Our thoughts, our prayers, go out to everyone who was affected by the events last week.
“I would urge you, if you get time, to go on to the bridge, talk to Londoners, talk and get a feel for this great city and how it’s come together in responding to these events.”
Hundreds of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association were on the bridge, wearing T-shirts with the message “I am a Muslim, ask me anything”.
Chaudhry Shokat Ali Chairman British Muslim Friends of Labour, said: we are standing shoulder to shoulder with the families of the victims of the horrendous attack in London., adding: “We’re here to show that we are united with our fellow countrymen and remembering those who have fallen, especially Pc Keith Palmer.”
Rabbi Natan Levy, of the Faiths Forum, said the bridge was symbolic as “terrorism tries to put barriers up between communities, between faiths, and people are walking on Westminster Bridge and saying ‘we are stronger and are coming together and are not going to be divided in this way’.
“It makes one heck of a difference the fact that we as Muslims and Jews, rabbis, imams, people of all faiths, people of none, are willing to walk together, to be together, to hold hands together and that makes each of us feel safe.”
Vigils were also held across the country to coincide with the Westminster event.